The Canadian Press Quotes Stephen Kho on Canada’s Demands in NAFTA Renegotiation

The Canadian Press has quoted Akin Gump international trade partner Stephen Kho in the article “Why Canada’s key NAFTA demands may be a tough sell in the U.S.,” regarding the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement that is set to begin this week. The article reports that Canada has two specific demands that could be difficult to achieve: fewer Buy American rules for public contracts and freer movement of professionals.

Kho, who served as lead attorney on IP and government procurement matters in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, explained why it has always been difficult to extend free trade in procurement to the state and local level, as Canada wants. He said he doesn’t see how this would change now, particularly with President Trump having been elected on a promise to increase Buy American rules, not reduce them.

“It might be a problem,” said Kho. “It’s particularly going to be true of the Trump administration. It’s made it a point, very publicly, of tightening up the exceptions rules, waivers … (and proclaiming) America First. That will make it particularly difficult—and it’s difficult already.” He added that it’s always good to talk about new ideas, but: “I don’t think expectations should be too high for this being liberalized further.”