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NAFTA Negotiators Reaching Provisional Agreements

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

29 September 2017

A provisional agreement has been reached on a new SME chapter in the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), after a third round of talks.

According to Bardish Chagger, Canada's Minister of Small Business, the provisional agreement "recognizes the integral role small- and medium-sized enterprises, including micro-businesses, play in driving growth and creating good, well-paying middle-class jobs in all three countries." He added that the chapter will help small business owners to access new markets and increase export opportunities.

A website will be created to help SMEs navigate NAFTA, and a NAFTA Trilateral SME Dialogue will be established, to bring together SMEs, non-governmental organizations, academic experts, and other stakeholders.

The third round of NAFTA renegotiation talks was held in Canada from September 23-27. According to a trilateral statement, negotiators made significant progress and are now working from consolidated texts in most areas.

The statement said that "meaningful advancements were made in the areas of telecommunications, competition policy, digital trade, good regulatory practices, and customs and trade facilitation." Initial offers on market access for government procurement were also exchanged.

The statement also confirmed that, in addition to a specific chapter on SMEs, negotiators are "working on modernizing other aspects of the agreement that would benefit SMEs, including customs and trade facilitation, digital trade, and good regulatory practices."

A fourth round of talks will be held from October 11-15.

TAGS: small business | business | free trade agreement (FTA) | export duty | trade treaty | Mexico | agreements | small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) | Canada | United States | trade | North America

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