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Tensions erupt at NAFTA talks

The Tuesday news briefing: An at a glance survey of some top stories

Tuesday, Oct. 17

TENSIONS ERUPT AS NAFTA TALKS PUSHED TO 2018: The tensions at the NAFTA negotiating table have exploded into public view, as U.S.

Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced NAFTA talks are being extended into 2018. The next negotiating round is being pushed back almost three weeks in a tacit admission that negotiators aren’t going to meet their original deadline for a deal by year-end. The proposals tabled at the latest round have revealed huge chasms in negotiating positions, on everything from dairy and autos to even the basic architecture of an agreement _ and the tone of Tuesday’s news conference made clear the talks have turned downright frosty.

Lighthizer said other countries are struggling to accept the reality that the U.S. wants to rebalance its trade agreements. He said other countries and industries must stop counting on easy export access to the U.S. market. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland sounded a marginally more diplomatic note. But she made it clear Canada believes others at the table are preventing progress from being made. Mexico’s Economic Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo acknowledged that the talks would be difficult. He said obstacles to progress remain and that all sides need to work towards constructive solutions.

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