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NAFTA update today: All eyes on US trade czar for clues on state of the talks

All eyes today will be on US trade czar Robert Lighthizer with just eight weeks left in the current schedule.


Robert Lighthizer, US Trade Representative. Photo: Office of the President

MONTREAL — Today could offer some clues on the state of the NAFTA negotiations.

The political ministers leading the talks for Canada, Mexico and the US are in Montreal for a rare group event.

Numerous participants in the now-concluded week-long round in Montreal are sounding cautiously optimistic.

They say this round was less negative, and more constructive, than recent ones, with the first true dialogue on serious sticking points – in particular autos, dispute resolution, and a five-year review clause.

But it’s now up to the politicians. With just eight weeks left in the current schedule of talks, and President Donald Trump frequently threatening to blow up the deal, eyes today will be on US trade czar, Robert Lighthizer.

An American lawmaker who spoke with Lighthizer, Dave Reichert, says he sounded hopeful. But he warned not to expect too much enthusiasm: He says Lighthizer is a self-admitted curmudgeon.

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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