The seventh round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations wrapped up today in Mexico City.
Each country has taken incremental steps toward agreements on some lower-level issues. However, trade negotiators acknowledged the looming threat of United States tariffs on steel and aluminum overshadowed any progress made. Negotiators say most of their weekend meetings started off with discussions about tariffs instead of the agreement itself.
Politico says after the sixth round of negotiations, there was a feeling of accomplishment, as all three countries felt the other countries were getting more engaged in the process. A business source told Politico that round seven has felt a little more “anticlimactic” because of the tariff news, which took up a lot of time and energy in Mexico City.
Negotiators did not spend a lot of time on heavier issues, including automotive rules-of-origin and investor-state dispute settlement. Some progress was made in areas such as a chapter on good regulatory practices, which was closed last Thursday. Other chapters on the discussion schedule in round seven included sanitary and phytosanitary chapters, as well as telecommunications. Roughly half of the agreement’s chapters are between 80- and 90-percent complete.