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Canadian Ambassador Optimistic on NAFTA Negotiations

Canada’s ambassador to the U.S. says the target date of March as a finishing point to the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations is very possible. He tells Bloomberg it’s possible if the three sides can overcome some sticking points, including U.S. demands for tougher auto quotas.

David McNaughton tells Bloomberg he’s hopeful the deal with be done by March. “Certainly, I think the deal has been good for all three countries,” he says, “and we’ve put some pretty constructive alternatives on the table.” Negotiators have updated several chapters of the pact already and are getting close on several others. Canadian and Mexican negotiators are heading back to Washington for the next round of talks that begins on Monday.

The three sides have several issues to work through yet, including a U.S. proposal for a five-year sunset-clause to the deal. McNaughton says U.S. proposals to boost American content in automobiles from the NAFTA countries won’t work for the U.S. auto industry. “The American auto industry has said the American proposals during the negotiations will make the industry less competitive,” he adds. Negotiators have scheduled March as the target date because of Mexico’s presidential election on July 1.

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