Josh Teitelbaum Quoted in International Trade Today on NAFTA Apparel Talks

International Trade Today has quoted Josh Teitelbaum, counsel in the public law and policy practice at Akin Gump, in the article “Mexico, Canada Counter US’s TPL Removal Pitch With Proposals to Open NAFTA Apparel Trade Even More.”

According to the article, Mexico and Canada have proposed to expand the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) tariff preference levels (TPLs) for textiles and apparel. The offer comes in response to Washington’s proposal to remove TPLs entirely.

Teitelbaum said Mexico has “come back with a proposal that is similarly aggressive [to the U.S.’s], but from the other side. That’s kind of the tension where we’re at, the stalemate, so to speak,” on textile and apparel negotiations.

The article continues by noting that U.S. industry and the Canadian and Mexican governments prefer certain aspects of the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) to NAFTA. Teitelbaum, however, said a separate consideration is whether short-supply list additions and deletions will be administered by a single government body like the U.S. Commerce Department in CAFTA, or whether the responsibility will be shared among the NAFTA parties. “It’s a question that I think will probably gain a little bit more importance in this agreement, since we’re dealing with Canada and Mexico rather than different Central American countries,” he said.

Teitelbaum pointed out that the CAFTA short-supply process is pretty thorough and, in his experience, “participants generally find it satisfactory, and certainly, easier to use than NAFTA, where there essentially isn’t a mechanism for short supply, where it involves more amending of the agreement, which is an incredibly arduous task.” Adopting that kind of mechanism, he added, “is certainly a move that interests the parties because it’s been more successful.”