Trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up a contentious round of NAFTA negotiations dominated by aggressive U.S. demands. Fred Katayama reports.
Trade ministers from the United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up a round of NAFTA negotiations on Tuesday, but the tone of the closing statements implied they were far apart on the free trade agreement. The three sides said they will negotiate into the first quarter of 2018. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland (SOUNDBITE) (English) CANADA MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS CHRYSTIA FREELAND, SAYING: "We have seen proposals that would turn back the clock on 23 years of predictability, openness, and collaboration under NAFTA. In some cases, these proposals run counter to WTO rules. This is troubling." The Trump administration's proposals to reshape NAFTA to help shrink U.S. trade deficits have created stumbling blocks. Among Washington's demands: forcing renegotiations every five years, reserving the lion's share of auto manufacturing for the United States, and making it easier to pursue import barriers against some Canadian and Mexican goods. Mexican and Canadian officials at the talks said those proposals are unacceptable. Center on Peace and Liberty director Ivan Eland: (SOUNDBITE) (English) IVAN ELAND, SENIOR FELLOW AND DIRECTOR, CENTER ON PEACE AND LIBERTY, SAYING: "Some of the trade associations here in America have been telling Trump, and have been warning, that if this deal goes down, you know, this could cause chaos in many - like retailers, consumer companies, transportation companies, et cetera." Financial markets reacted to the outcome of the talks. The Mexican peso slid to its lowest level in almost five months against the U.S. dollar, while the Canadian dollar hit a one-week low against the greenback on Tuesday.