The clock is ticking for President Trump and his trade team to strike a new deal with Mexico and Canada.
Round four of the renegotiation of NAFTA, the three-nation trade pact, begins Wednesday, and little, if any, progress on the thorny issues has been reported from any party. Some business groups are becoming extremely concerned about Trump’s agenda.
“There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal,” Ted Donahue, CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a speech in Mexico City on Tuesday.
The Trump administration did not respond specifically to Donahue’s remark, but had already criticized a similar comment from the Chamber last week regarding NAFTA talks.
“The President has been clear that NAFTA has been a disaster for many Americans, and achieving his objectives requires substantial change. These changes of course will be opposed by entrenched Washington lobbyists and trade associations,” U.S. Trade Representative spokeswoman Emily Davis said.
Time to reach an agreement is running out: Mexican leaders have long warned that talks must end by early next year before their presidential election campaign gets underway in July. By the spring, they say, it’ll be too difficult politically to ratify a new trade deal.
U.S. leaders acknowledge that talks should get done as soon as possible.
But some of the Trump administration’s demands aren’t going over smoothly.