NAFTA Negotiators Hone in on Origin Rules, Dispute Settlement

U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators on Friday began digging into some of the thorniest issues in modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, including rules of origin for goods produced in the region, services trade and a controversial dispute settlement system.

A copy of the NAFTA negotiating agenda obtained by Reuters reveals that meetings on rules of origin, a NAFTA provision that determines how much of a product is made in North America, were expected to last through Sunday, when the initial round concludes.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer emphasized at the opening of the talks on Wednesday that the United States was seeking major increases to the regional content required for goods to pass tariff-free between the three countries, including a demand for “substantial U.S. content” in the automotive sector.

Canada, Mexico and the U.S. auto industry are urging a much more cautious approach to rules of origin to

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