Traverse City, Mich. — Trade representatives from Canada and Mexico agree with the Trump administration's assertion that two-decade-old NAFTA should be renegotiated.
But neither agree that the trade agreement has been what President Donald Trump called "a job killer."
At the Center for Automotive Research's Management Briefing Seminars July 31-Aug. 3 in Traverse City, Colin Bird, minister-counselor for trade and economic policy assigned to the Canadian Embassy, and Francisco Sandoval-Saqui, a Mexican trade official working in the Ministry of the Economy, laid out their country's agendas for NAFTA trade talks that are scheduled to begin Aug. 16 in Washington.
Bird said Canada's chief goal in the negotiations is to update the treaty so the United States, Canada and Mexico emerge with an improved framework that makes the three countries even more competitive with Europe and Asia.
Specifically, he said, the treaty's Rules of Origin need to be modernized. Rules of Origin deals with parts that go into cars that were not made in the United States, Canada or Mexico. Non-NAFTA parts expose vehicles to tariffs.
"For Canada, it is important that we simplify and modernize the Rules of Origin, we avoid rules that are so complicated and marginal that they actually encourage production offshore," Bird said. "There are over 300 pages on Rules of Origin in the existing NAFTA, and that seems like a bit of excessive red tape."