The United States, Mexico and Canada have failed to resolve any major differences in a fifth round of talks to rework the NAFTA trade deal, drawing a swift complaint from the Trump administration that the lack of progress could doom the process. David Pollard reports.
The flags are welcoming but the mood isn't. A fifth round of NAFTA talks foundering in Mexico City .... (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MEXICAN CHIEF NEGOTIATOR, KENNETH SMITH, SAYING TO REPORTERS: "There are obviously difficult issues that are not going to be resolved in this round, they will be for the next meetings. But we are trying to move forward on issues where there are less differences ..." Those issues, reportedly, are anti-corruption, telcos, goods market access and sanitary and food safety. Cars continue to divide. As Mexico and Canada push back on Donald Trump's demands that a higher content of all US-built autos should come from the US. Demands central to his America First strategy. SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WH IRELAND, SAYING: "The Canadian Mexico position is simply will these proposals are a complete non-starter ... So what might happen next for instance is that President Trump announces that he's pulling out of NAFTA in principle. That's only a six months notice period." The US has already made a swift complaint, citing 'the lack of headway'. For now it, Mexico and Canada have agreed to continue talks through to a target completion date in March. Though by that time, the backdrop could start to look different. SOUNDBITE) (English) MIKE INGRAM, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, WH IRELAND, SAYING: "You've got Mexican presidential elections next year. You've got US midterms this time next year. And I think there are a lot of people out there who have a reason to play fast and loose with these negotiations. Bottom line is, yeah, I think you could see fireworks." With one trillion dollars of annual trilateral trade at stake, markets getting nervous .... That a sixth round of talks in January may already be too late to get deals done in time.