U.S. drops Mexico seasonality provision in NAFTA talks

August 21 , 2018

The U.S. has reportedly dropped a contentious demand from the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to impose restrictions on Mexican agricultural exports, Reuters reported, citing Mexico’s top farm lobby.

Talks to rework the 24-year-old pact are entering a crucial phase and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said outstanding bilateral issues between Mexico and the U.S. could be resolved this week.

One divisive issue has been a proposal by the Trump administration to put seasonal curbs on some agricultural exports to the U.S. But a senior executive at Mexico’s National Agricultural Council (CNA) reportedly said on Sunday that had been dropped.

“Our U.S. counterparts tell us that ... the United States has decided to withdraw (the proposal) from the table,” Mario Andrade, CNA vice president for foreign trade, told Reuters.

Mexico’s Economy Ministry did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Andrade’s remarks. A spokeswoman for the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer could not immediately be reached for comment.

Andrade said the move followed a lobbying effort that sought to show that the “seasonality” demand stood to benefit a small fraction of U.S. agricultural producers while putting many other U.S. farmers at risk from Mexican retaliation, Reuters reported.

Much of the renegotiation, which has gone on for more than a year, has focused on revamping rules for the automotive industry. The U.S. government wants the rules changed to try to secure more business for American manufacturing workers.

 

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