November 13, 2017 | By: GREG QUINN, JOSH WINGROVE, & ERIC MARTIN –
As Donald Trump pushes to overhaul U.S. trade ties abroad, negotiations with his two biggest export markets are resuming in hopes of finding new common ground on easier subjects — leaving the most contentious U.S. demands for later.
The fifth round of North American Free Trade Agreement talks starts Wednesday in Mexico City, two days earlier than initially scheduled. It’s the first meeting since U.S., Mexican and Canadian negotiators extended talks to March and added more time between sessions, abandoning Trump’s previous deadline.
Mexico is warning talks could impact immigration cooperation with the U.S., while Canada is effectively holding up the Trans Pacific partnership — a deal Trump quit, that was also effectively a Nafta update — as it pushes for improvements. Lighthizer has complained that Mexico and Canada aren’t agreeing to what was already in TPP.
One government official said Nafta negotiations this week are expected to focus on smaller issues related to modernizing the deal, and the thorniest discussions will be put off until later rounds. Many observers expect the same.
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