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Home / World / US, Mexico could solve problems on Monday to maintain Nafta talks

US, Mexico could solve problems on Monday to maintain Nafta talks



The US and Mexico could reach a bilateral agreement on Monday on major issues that delay renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to Mexico's main negotiator

Ildefonso Guajardo.

Mr. Guajardo and the rest of Mexico's trade delegation arrived at the US Trade Representative's office around noon on Sunday, after negotiations in Washington, DC for weeks, saying that they would do whatever was necessary, including working into the night, around one To reach bargain USA, which would then allow the return of Canada to the talks.

Disagreements between Mexico and the US posed a major obstacle to renegotiating the Nafta Agreement, which was a campaign promise by President Trump. Mr Guajardo said that the negotiators might have to negotiate with Canada for about a week before an agreement could be reached.

Trump administration officials and their Mexican counterparts are debating a proposal to rid some industries of dispute settlement provisions of one of the toughest issues, people said. Negotiations have also progressed on how much local content a car should have and the cost of producing a car to qualify for duty-free treatment under Nafta. The talks in the automotive sector are "far advanced," said an official.

Mr. Guajardo, who entered the negotiations on Sunday, said there were still several unanswered questions, but they would have given their best effort "to solve them.

" Our relationship with Mexico is approaching by the hour At an hour, "President Trump tweeted on Saturday morning as negotiators continued their work." A big trade deal with Mexico could happen soon! "

One of the problems in the last year of the Nafta negotiations between the US, Mexico and Canada was Washington's request to weaken or delete a provision in Nafta as an investor -State Dispute Settlement, or ISDS, in which companies may bring claims before an international tribunal if they believe that their foreign investment has been unfairly sanctioned by an action of another Nafta government.

The US argues that the tribunals are undermining national sovereignty, but many US companies have lost their management pressure to maintain dispute settlement provisions, otherwise their international investment would be unprotected. Mexico and Canada have also endorsed the retention of the provisions, believing that they are strengthening investor confidence.

The Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable, the National Association of Manufacturers and the American Petroleum Institute are among the big industrial groups that have worked to resolve the dispute (1

9659004). One idea to solve the impasse is that only certain ones can Industries remain covered by dispute resolution. Negotiators have spread the idea with various industries, according to three sources of industries that closely follow the negotiations. Mexico and the US do not seem to agree on the idea of ​​excluding some industries, but not others, from the tax.

A dispute settlement could involve some industrial groups, but could trigger further resistance from the released industries. I believe they are losing significant protection of their international investment. The strategy could split the united front that has driven many corporate groups, with some large industries possibly welcoming a resolution and leaving a smaller group with objections.

The US Trade Representative's office did not respond to a request for comment. Mexican officials, who were approached when they entered a Washington venue, declined to comment.

One idea that has been discussed is the preservation of industries that fear government concessions, including energy, utilities, mining, telecommunications and dispute resolution services. Other important industries, including manufacturing and agriculture, would not be covered by the dispute settlement provisions in this version of the proposal.

Mexico and the US have signaled in recent days that they are making significant progress in resolving their remaining disagreements. But they have stressed, nothing is final. The talks should be continued over the weekend.

One source of delay could be a rift between the current Mexican negotiating team and that of the elected president

Andrés Manuel López Obrador,

Who wants Mexico's newly opened energy sector to be exempted from dispute resolution?

Geophysic Gertz, a Brookings Institution scholarship holder who has dealt with dispute resolution, said the system is more important to some industries than others.

It is a logic to focus on sectors with high sunk costs and extensive regulation, as investors are most likely to face setbacks in government policy.

But companies that are not covered could still be persuaded The deal, if the Nafta negotiations allow, can be resolved, he said.

"What I think most about companies investing in Mexico is more stable, predictable, comprehensive access to the North American market, more than the right to bring ISDS cases," said Gertz.

Even if the United States and Mexico agree to maintain dispute resolution for specific industries, Mexico and Canada could still bilaterally agree to maintain the provisions that the US and Mexico "very far" on the List of problems that need to be worked out between the two countries, but said: "Even if you do that." (19659004) Mexico's chief negotiator Ildefonso Guajardo said on Friday are extremely committed, there is always one last thing that can lie between you and your goals.

He said the conclusion of the talks, including some of the toughest remaining issues, would require the inclusion of Canadians 19659004] On the US position raised that Nafta should contain a "foreclosure clause" which contained the deal in five Guajardo replied that "there are clear trilateral issues that need to be resolved in a trilateral context."

Write to Josh Zumbrun at Josh.Zumbrun@wsj.com and Robbie Whelan at robbie.whelan@wsj.com


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