As round five of the NAFTA talks comes to a close in Mexico, it seems that the negotiating logjam is unchanged, at least on the surface. This round held did not include ministers, so it was more technical in nature, which created the opportunity for details.
It sounds like Canada and Mexico have changed their negotiating tactic somewhat by asking the U.S. for data that proves their asks instead of providing counter text. Rather than saying “non starter” or “never in a million years,” the tandem of Mexico and Canada are reportedly asking for details and information. It has become more of a “show me” or “prove it” kind of negotiation. For example, Inside Trade reported that Mexico is looking to prove its point on procurement contracts by suggesting a reciprocal arrangement.
The automotive industry is also asking for data, reported Inside Trade: “the automotive industry, in numerous meetings with officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, industry officials have been questioning the U.S. approach and have asked USTR to present them with data that shows the need for a change in the NAFTA auto rule of origin.”
This concept of getting the U.S. to realize its own asks are detrimental to an America-first objective could be judged as long tail strategy, but if anything, the points will be scored with members of Congress and state officials.
The Canadian and U.S. auto sectors have been very adamant that the Trump administration’s quest to make NAFTA auto content levels of 85% could be very detrimental, instead of the job-creating impacts Lighthizer and Trump are looking for.
U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer was not impressed with the negotiating tactics of Canada and Mexico claiming that they are not responding seriously to U.S. proposals to renegotiate NAFTA and warned that if the two countries don’t change their slow play strategy, “We will not reach a satisfactory result.”
Round six of the NAFTA talks will be held in January in Montreal, Quebec.
We discussed round five and how Canada and Mexico are attempting to force the United States to comb through data instead of following rhetoric on RFD-TV and Rural Radio 147’s Market Day Report: