Grim reality of NAFTA talks sets in after tough U.S. demand
Some downcast participants said the demands, unveiled this week in line with Trump's "America First" agenda, have increased the odds of NAFTA's demise. At the very least, they could make it impossible to reach a deal renewing the treaty before a year-end deadline.
"The atmosphere is complicated," one trade official told reporters, adding that his fears about some "pretty harsh, pretty horrible" demands from the U.S. side of the negotiating table were coming true.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential, the official added the U.S. stance "has a clear protectionist bias, a bias that is trying to eradicate, minimize, eliminate the mechanisms that existed in NAFTA in the last 20 years."
Trump, who blamed NAFTA for shifting U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico during his election campaign last year, has repeatedly vowed to scrap the treaty unless it can be renegotiated on more favorable terms.