The following excerpt is a transcript of a video featuring CIGI Senior Fellow Patrick Leblond. Patrick Leblond is a CIGI senior fellow with the Global Economy Program. Leblond outlines five things deal-makers could achieve as talks get set to begin again in Ottawa. He is an expert in global economic governance and international political economy, regional economic integration, financial regulation, and business and public policy.
This week the third round of NAFTA negotiations take place in Ottawa, and so far what we’ve seen in the first two rounds in Washington and Mexico is actually not that much. What we’ve been told and what we can expect from the negotiations is the bigger files to be dealt with at the last minute, once everything else has been settled, because of their political importance.
- Create a new chapter on digital trade
The main files where we’re hoping for good progress out if this third round of negotiations are digital trade or e-commerce. This is something that does not exist in NAFTA because e-commerce was not something that people did back in the early 1990s.
- Facilitate regulatory cooperation
There is also regulatory cooperation. Already there are two councils that exist, bilateral ones between the US and Canada, and between the US and Mexico. We’re hoping to bring these together into NAFTA that would facilitate regulatory cooperation, and remove regulatory barriers to trade and investment.
- Integrate labour and environment side agreements
We’re also hoping that in terms of labour and environment, the two side agreements that were negotiated in the early 1990s, will be integrated into the actual treaty. So that would give them much more teeth in terms of enforcement.
- Simplify rules of origin for trade in goods
We also expect that there will be movement forward, in terms of simplifying the rules of origin for the trade in goods. That is the percentage of content that is North American and the process by which this gets certified.
- Ease cross-border movement for business professionals
One last area where we might see benefits would be in the movement of technicians, professionals, and business people across the borders. We know that the US administration has an anti-immigration stance, they don’t necessarily want more people who have an easier time coming in, but it would be a lot easier and cheaper for businesses to send their own people across the border.
It will be interesting to see if more concrete progress will be done as a result of this third round. But at least the important thing is that there’s movement forward and that we have a reasonable expectation of potentially getting an agreement sometime in the winter of 2018.
This post was originally published on CIGIOnline.
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