United States seeks 'impossible' changes to NAFTA for Mexico, Canada — Toyota executive

Failure could threaten jobs across North America, she said.

NAFTA was harshly criticized by candidate Donald Trump, and press reports say Washington has since proposed renegotiating the deal every five years, requiring more USA -made content in automobiles, and scaling back a mechanism to resolve disputes.

"The United States has put forward a proposal that according to our calculations would give Canada and Mexico less access to the US government procurement market than Bahrain now enjoys", she said.

The government has frequently reminded the USA that 35 states and nine million American jobs depend on trade with Canada.

But the apparent deadlock in the talks underscored how a keystone of regional trade - USA trade with Mexico has tripled since 1993 to $1.2 trillion - was now in jeopardy.

The fifth round, to be held in Mexico City, has been postponed until November 17-21.

Earlier, the negotiators have said they hoped to finish the negotiations by the end of 2017, but today they said additional negotiating rounds will be scheduled through the first quarter of 2018.

Lighthizer also said he was "surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change" from Canada and Mexico regarding reducing USA trade deficits, a top priority for the Trump administration.

"It is not clear how the (U.S.) administration would expect to reduce the trade deficit through the renegotiation". Portman and other lawmakers said that provision, which wasn't part of the main TPP text, didn't go far enough.

Canada is now the country in the best bilateral position, as both Mexico and the United States have expressed interest in continuing trade agreements with the country.

"Proposed new US national content requirements would severely disrupt the supply chains, make North American producers and manufactures less competitive relative to imports from outside the region and put in jeopardy tens of thousands of jobs across North America", Freeland said. Despite these concerns, Freeland also said she saw "concrete evidence of good will" from her US counterparts to conclude a new NAFTA that will benefit the three trade partners.

"We have seen no indications that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits", he said. Freeland countered that barb with her observation that the USA wanted to "turn back the clock on 23 years of predictability, openness and collaboration under NAFTA".

Freeland didn't dismiss the possibility of success but said she was ready "for the worst possible outcome". "Furthermore, including Section 230 in NAFTA in its current form would export a destructive legal battle that will harm sex trafficking victims advertised in Mexico and Canada".

The Canadian government does not share that concern, said the official, who described the relationship on security and defence as being as strong as ever, despite the differences on trade.

  • Joey Payne