Sep 4, 2017

Where things stand with NAFTA re-negotiation

AP/Carolyn Kaster, Ettore Ferrari, and Dario Lopez-Mills

The second round of NAFTA negotiations started on Friday in Mexico City, one week after President Trump said he believes "you will probably have to at least start the termination process before a fair deal can be arrived at." Here's where the three North American partners stand:

The United States

Trump has been saying since his campaign that he's willing to leave NAFTA, which he believes is unfair to the United States.

Last Sunday, he tweeted: "We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?"

Robert Lighthizer, the top U.S. trade official, told CNN Trump "is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and a couple updated chapters."

U.S. News and World Report listed the administration's top goals:

  • Improving trade balance in goods
  • Making customs laws and regulatory implementation transparent
  • Strengthening labor standards and rules of origin
  • Streamlining the import-export-transport system.
  • Securing commitments to not enforce customs duties on digital products
Mexico

The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement last Sunday saying Mexico would not "negotiate NAFTA...through social media or any other news platform." The ministry also said Mexico will continue "seeking a beneficial result whereby the three North American countries win."

Reuters reported on Saturday that the three countries are focusing on ways to "enshrine Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's sweeping energy reforms" in a new NAFTA.

Here are Mexico's top goals, per U.S. News:

  • Strengthening competitiveness in North America
  • Promoting "certainty of trade and investment"
  • Updating energy, digital and telecommunications provisions
  • Fostering more inclusive regional trade
  • Maintaining agricultural access
Canada

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he doesn't "see anything changing" in the negotiations, per the Toronto Star, and dismissed Trump's remarks as "heated rhetoric."

Foreign Affair Minister Chrystia Freeland said all parties should be "prepared for some moments of drama," and that it's "an expected part of any trade negotiations."

Some of Canada's key demands, per Global News, are:

  • New chapters on labour and environmental standards, as well as gender and Indigenous rights.
  • Protecting cultural exemptions and supply-management for dairy and poultry.
  • Freer movement of professionals
Three main items being focused on

Per the New York Times:

  • Modernization: All partners agree that the agreement needs updating.
  • Arbitration: North American companies can force a country to "do away with measures that violate the trade deal" through independent arbitration, and Trump wants to get rid of it.
  • Rule of origin: Vehicles assembled in Mexico aren't subject to import taxes if a required percentage of it was made in North America, and Trump wants to increase that percentage. He has the support of a major U.S. automobile union.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Health

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.