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This is a make-or-break time for the NAFTA talks. Trade ministers from the United States, Mexico and Canada started a new round of talks in Washington on May 7.  U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says he hopes to have an agreement by mid-May, but there is much to resolve in order to meet that goal.

The many millions of stakeholders who will gain from a modern NAFTA need to pay close attention and be ready to urge that this moment of opportunity not be lost in disagreement.

If the trade ministers can find ways forward on difficult topics such as rules of origin for autos, investors’ protections, dispute settlement and a sunset clause for the treaty, they would then instruct their officials to work over the weeks ahead to complete a detailed treaty text.

The last round of talks focused largely on the auto rules of origin issues, where the United States put forward a very complex proposal that included pressure for the Mexicans to raise autoworker wages.

Because of the tight legislative schedule needed to get an agreement through the U.S. Congress in this legislative session and due to the Mexico’s July 1 presidential and congressional elections, the negotiators must work full bore.

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About the Author

Earl Anthony Wayne

Earl Anthony Wayne

Public Policy Fellow,
former Career Ambassador to Afghanistan, Argentina, and Mexico
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Mexico Institute

The Mexico Institute seeks to improve understanding, communication, and cooperation between Mexico and the United States by promoting original research, encouraging public discussion, and proposing policy options for enhancing the bilateral relationship. A binational Advisory Board, chaired by Luis Téllez and Earl Anthony Wayne, oversees the work of the Mexico Institute.   Read more