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US, Canadian, Mexican negotiators say gaps narrow in NAFTA talks

AMERICAN, Canadian and Mexican negotiators say they have made progress, "narrowing gaps and agreeing to elements of the negotiating text" needed to remake the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), reports American Shipper.

"Meaningful advancements were made in the areas of telecommunications, competition policy, digital trade, good regulatory practices, and customs and trade facilitation," said the joint communique issued at the end of the third round of negotiations. "Parties also exchanged initial offers in the area of market access for government procurement," said the tripartite statement. Special focus was placed on advancing the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to more efficiently participate in NAFTA, including through cooperative activities, information sharing, and the establishment of a NAFTA Trilateral SME Dialogue. Substantive progress was also made on NAFTA's competition chapter, and negotiators say they expect to conclude this work before the next round scheduled to be held in Washington on October 11-15 2017.

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