NAFTA discussion between negotiators of Canada, Mexico and united states

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 11:28 GMT, Sep 2, 2017 |

Mexican officials met with trade negotiators from Canada and the United States at a Mexico City hotel on Friday (September 1) to discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement, with the mood darkened by U.S. President Donald Trump’s persistent threats to pull out.

Teams from the three countries kicked off a second round of talks on 25 tables of discussion, with subjects such as digital commerce and small businesses seen as areas where consensus was possible, Mexican officials said.

The Sept. 1-5 round will also touch on more thorny topics such as rules governing local content in products made in North America, Mexico’s economy ministry said in a statement. Trump wants to include rules that some content must be made in the United States.

Trump said this week he might trigger a 180-day countdown to withdraw from NAFTA while the talks were ongoing to help meet his goals, which include sharply reducing a $64 billion annual U.S. trade deficit with Mexico.

NAFTA, first implemented in 1994, eliminates most tariffs on trade between the United States,Canada and Mexico. If NAFTA collapses, costs could rise for hundreds of billions of dollars of trade as tariffs are brought back. Free-trade lobby groups say consumers would be saddled with higher prices and less availability of products ranging from avocados and berries to heavy trucks.

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