OTTAWA — Canada’s ambassador to the United States says he believes NAFTA negotiators can reach an agreement in principle by the end of March.
David MacNaughton says enough progress has been made on the “wiring and plumbing” of the agreement that all three countries can iron out their differences on the more substantial issues in the next two months.
Two more rounds of negotiations are set to take place before presidential elections in Mexico and the U.S. congressional mid-terms, which observers fear could prove disruptive.
MacNaughton says the continued uncertainty is bad for the U.S. economy and business in general.
Substantial differences remain on autos, a sunset clause and an investor-dispute resolution mechanism, while U.S. demands for greater market access to Canada’s protected dairy industry also loom large.
MacNaughton, at an event with his U.S. counterpart, Kelly Craft, says the time has come to leave political rhetoric behind and find a workable agreement in principle that officials can hammer out later.
The Canadian Press