With parties to the North American Free Trade Agreement announcing recently that they plan to continue renegotiations through February 2018, Haynes and Boone, LLP released a new report examining where the talks stand on more than 30 issues under discussion. Haynes and Boone, which has a longstanding office in Mexico City as well as offices across the U.S., teamed up with Canadian law firm McCarthy Tétrault LLP to develop the “NAFTA Renegotiation Monitor” as a comprehensive, up-to-date overview of the most important trade issues at stake in the NAFTA discussions.
The report is designed as a service to stakeholders across all of the key industries affected by NAFTA, as a source to better track progress of the renegotiation talks, and as a reference guide that compares the positions of the three countries on various issues. The report also offers commentary on the current status of the negotiations and prospects for resolution of each issue.
The “NAFTA Renegotiation Monitor” was released in conjunction with an Oct. 19 panel discussion about NAFTA’s future, hosted by Haynes and Boone at Rice University’s Baker Institute Mexico Center in Houston.
Haynes and Boone Counsel Ed Lebow said the renegotiations appear to be following two tracks. The first encompasses necessary and generally agreed-upon modifications and updates in areas such as e-commerce, regulatory consistency and competition policy. The other track involves more-difficult issues driven by the United States’ desire to reduce its bilateral trade deficits, particularly with Mexico.
“While this (second) track is undoubtedly contentious, the parties nevertheless are continuing serious negotiations and, in fact, have extended their deadline for completion through February 2018,” said Lebow, who focuses on international trade from the firm’s office in Washington, D.C.
The parties have held four rounds of talks since August, and officials said on Oct. 17 that they would continue into 2018. The “NAFTA Renegotiation Monitor” report will be updated as the discussions continue.
Haynes and Boone, with a team of more than 70 International Practice Group lawyers across offices in 12 U.S. cities, plus London, Mexico City and Shanghai, has been advising clients in the U.S., Canada and Mexico on international trade matters for more than four decades. The firm’s lawyers have broad experience with cross-border issues and are helping clients adjust to the changing trade environment in North America.