Lead ministers for Canada, US, Mexico will not attend current NAFTA round
Few major developments expected, will focus on less-controversial issues.
WASHINGTON — The lead ministers for Canada, the US, and Mexico will not be attending the current round of NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City.
It’s the first time that’s happened since the talks began.
Chrystia Freeland, Robert Lighthizer, and Ildefonso Guajardo have declared they will not be making a public appearance at the fifth round of negotiations currently getting underway.
They say they just met and had substantive discussions at the Asia-Pacific summit, and also intend to remain in constant communication with their chief negotiators.
Insiders expect the current round to yield few major developments.
They describe it as a calm between two storms: The previous round featured public squabbling, and the final rounds are expected to produce their own fireworks, with the biggest sticking points being tackled amid threats of a U.S. pullout.
Sources say this round will likely see incremental progress on less-controversial issues, and modest temperature-taking on the hotter ones.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien says he doesn’t believe US President Donald Trump will scrap the NAFTA deal.
Chretien also told reporters in Montreal he doesn’t expect to see any changes to the Canada-US auto pact which was signed in 1965.
He notes Canada has shared factories and jobs with the Americans and that the auto pact works well.
Chretien adds he doesn’t think the US will succeed at changing it.
AS for NAFTA, Chretien says there have always been problems but that they are solved on a case-by-case basis.
Chretien says Canada, the US and Mexico have all benefited from the trade agreement and he doesn’t think it will be tossed into the garbage.
As for Donald Trump, Chretien says the US president surprises him on a regular basis but that he’s not interested in keeping up with his tweets.