The US & Mexico continue to have one-on-one talks, while Canada is left out.
As Canada remains on the sidelines, the US & Mexico are nearing a NAFTA deal on car rules.
Bloomberg News has reported that “The U.S. and Mexico are in the final stages of negotiating a deal on rules for cars sold under NAFTA, one of the biggest sticking points in discussions to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to five people familiar with the talks.”
Both Mexico and the United States have reportedly made concessions, with Mexico being “flexible on automotive wages and content,” and the US seemingly reducing demands on regional content.
Bloomberg also noted how Canada has been left out:
“The talks have taken on a largely two-nation format, with Canada rebuffed in recent attempts to engage with Lighthizer, according to three other people with knowledge of the talks, who also asked not to be named. The Canadian negotiating team led by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland has been told that the U.S. is focusing on negotiations with Mexico and isn’t interested in engaging with Canada at the moment, according to the people.”
If the US and Mexico agree to a deal on car rules without Canada, it would be a serious potential blow to Canada’s auto industry. It would put Canada at risk of being hit with auto tariffs from the US, while Mexico would be unscathed. This would dramatically reduce Canada’s negotiating leverage, and likely force the Trudeau government to accept a worse deal than they would have gotten otherwise.
Yet again, Trudeau and Freeland’s decision to stand in “solidarity” with Mexico and refuse bilateral talks with the US is looking worse and worse.
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