Canadian sees good progress on NAFTA trade talks on auto rules, steel tariffs

Vastavam web: Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday that good progress has been made at the NAFTA trade talks on the key issue of auto rules, though the threat of proposed U.S. steel and aluminium tariffs coming into force next week clouded the mood.Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo met for a second straight day in a push to seal a quick deal on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The bulk of talks focused on rules of origin governing what percentage of a car needs to be built in the NAFTA region in order to be sold tariff-free within North America, she said.“I think we made some good progress. We’re very much working on a set of proposals based on the creative ideas the U.S. came up with in March and I think there was good constructive progress,” she added.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s negotiators initially demanded that North American-built vehicles contain 85 percent content made in NAFTA countries by value, up from 62.5 percent now. But industry officials say that has been cut to 75 percent, with certain components coming from areas that pay higher wages.The U.S. trade representative was still pushing its proposal for wage standards for certain auto parts, a person briefed on the talks told.U.S. President Donald Trump’s negotiators initially demanded that North American-built vehicles contain 85 percent content made in NAFTA countries by value, up from 62.5 percent now. But industry officials say that has been cut to 75 percent, with certain components coming from areas that pay higher wages.

The U.S. trade representative was still pushing its proposal for wage standards for certain auto parts, a person briefed on the talks told Reuters.