The third round of negotiations for the North American Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came to an end over the past weeks – and trade officials from the U.S, Canada, and Mexico managed to reach consensus on some matters. However, a level of skepticism still remains as the three countries have yet to discuss the most divisive issues, such as the arbitration panels for disputes established in NAFTA’s chapter 19, or the U.S. proposal on automotive rules of origin.
Senior officials from the three countries applauded the progress that was made during Wednesday’s round of negotiations, including issues related to small- and mid-sized businesses. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer explained, “Significant progress continues to be made.” But he also clarified that “There is an enormous amount of work to be done, including on some very difficult and contentious issues.” And clearly, with more negotiations remaining, it’s crucial that the most difficult matters are discussed sooner rather than later if all three countries want to reach an agreement before the end of the year.
There are still many challenges to overcome with NAFTA, and there is room for improvement and growth within these talks. All three parties involved can only benefit from this agreement, and it’s crucial that the U.S, along with Canada and Mexico, establish their proposals in a way that can make their economies stronger, not weaker.
The outcomes of the negotiations will impact how America positions itself to be successful in the 21st Century global economy, and how we will continue to keep growing market access for our workers and business owners. It’s imperative that our trade officials and representatives can seek a beneficial solution that does not harm our relationship with our neighbors while maximizing our country’s potential.