Agriculture and other contentious issues proposed by the U.S. during round four of the North American Free Trade Agreement talks have stalled the renegotiation effort. The U.S., Canada, and Mexico have now agreed to extend the talks into 2018, failing to meet the Trump Administration’s goal to conclude the talks by the end of this year. The move comes as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has confirmed the U.S. will table its dairy proposal, for now. The proposal seeks to end Canada’s dairy supply management program, a “non-starter” for Canada. Lighthizer has also tabled a proposal related to produce exports, opposed by Mexico.
Negotiators say the longer timeline allows for them to “dig in” to the tough issues, and pledge to continue to work out a deal, while acknowledging that strong differences remain. The next round of talks is scheduled for November 17th in Mexico.