• US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has expressed concern about a "lack of headway" at the conclusion of the fifth round of talks to modernise NAFTA.
  • Lighthizer claims the US has "seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement."
  • The sixth round of negotiations will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 23-28 January 2018.
Discussions were held in Mexico City this week

Discussions were held in Mexico City this week

Little progress seems to have been made in the fifth round of renegotiations to modernise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that concluded this week, with concerns expressed by the US on the "lack of headway." 

Following the meetings in Mexico City, United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer observed that to date the US has "seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement."

He warned: "Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result," reigniting concerns remain that US President Donald Trump may end the agreement should the US, Canada and Mexico be unable to strike a deal.

Meanwhile, Canada and Mexico continue to view the US proposals on such key issues as auto rules of origin and dispute settlement as "unfeasible," according to customs and international trade law firm Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg.

In a brief trilateral statement, the NAFTA parties reaffirmed their commitment to moving forward in all areas of the negotiations, in order to conclude talks as soon as possible.

However, at the end of the fourth round they admitted the discussions are expected to extend into the first quarter of next year, with sticking points including a provision to automatically terminate NAFTA every five years unless it is specifically renewed, revamping the dispute settlement system, and reducing the amount of US government procurement open to NAFTA partners.

The sixth round of negotiations is set to take place from 23-28 January 2018, in Montreal, Canada. In the meantime, negotiators will continue their work in intersessional meetings in Washington, DC throughout mid-December and will report back to chief negotiators on the progress achieved.

Earlier this week, the United States set out a revised set of objectives for the renegotiation of NAFTA with Canada and Mexico – with a focus on transparency and expanded investment.

US sets out revised NAFTA negotiating objectives

For a more detailed look at the NAFTA renegotiations, click on the following link:  

NAFTA renegotiation – Key issues for textiles and apparel

just-style has also taken an in-depth review of the textile and apparel products that would be most affected by NAFTA's termination: 

Which products would be hardest hit if NAFTA nixed?