Canadian union leader accuses US of bullying tactics in NAFTA talks

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 08:20 GMT, Nov 20, 2017 |

A top Canadian trade union leader accused the United States of bullying tactics and wanting NAFTA to fail amidst reports from Mexico City on Sunday (November 19) that the three countries have not made much progress on tough U.S. demands that could sink the 1994 trade pact.

Officials from the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting in Mexico City for the fifth of seven planned rounds to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, from which U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw.

Time is running short to seal a deal by the deadline of end-March 2018. Officials say next year’s Mexican presidential election means talks after that date will not be possible.

Canadian trade union leader Jerry Dias told media that the United States is not serious about a deal.

The U.S. administration has made demands that the other members say are unacceptable, such as a five-year “sunset” clause and tightening so-called rules of origin to boost the North American content of autos.

Within hours of the latest round of talks formally starting on Friday (November 17), Canada was complaining about inflexibility by the United States. But Mexico’s Deputy Economy Minister Juan Carlos Baker said on Saturday (November 18) the atmosphere in negotiations was good.

Officials have so far discussed other issues such as labour, gender, intellectual property, energy and telecommunications, but it is too soon to say whether there will be any breakthroughs this round, added a source familiar with the talks.

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