NAFTA negotiations are on the ropes

As negotiations to reform the NAFTA free-trade agreement struggle to advance, hobbled by extreme U.S. demands and the administration’s ongoing threats to withdraw, the rest of the world is moving on.

Officials are due to hold a sixth and penultimate round of negotiations in Montreal from Jan. 23-28 as time runs out to bridge major differences.

The European Union and Japan just finalized the world’s biggest free-trade pact that will cover 30 percent of global GDP. The European Union and Mexico are speeding towards a major update of their 17-year-old trade deal. Washington’s NAFTA partners Mexico and Canada, seeking to reduce their dependency on the United States, are aiming to cement closer trade and investment ties with China. Beijing is pushing ahead with its $1 trillion “Belt and Road” infrastructure initiative that promises to vastly expand its economic and diplomatic influence. Eleven other Asia-Pacific nations are moving forward with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, despite the Trump administration’s exit from the deal in one of the president’s first acts in office.

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