New optimism on NAFTA: Sides start engaging on hard topics in Montreal talks

A glimmer of optimism is starting to emerge at NAFTA talks.

The countries have begun engaging on difficult topics, after earlier rounds marked by finger-pointing, recriminations and threats of a U.S. withdrawal.

A week-long round in Montreal has seen new discussions about auto rules, dispute resolution and a five-year review clause.

And several sources say it's been more constructive than past rounds.

That's according to sources from two national governments. 

Also, several lawmakers from Canada and the U.S. attending the talks are saying similar things, as are stakeholders being briefed.

But everyone adds a note of caution: it's still early, none of the hard topics have been completed and negotiators are waiting to hear what U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer says when he attends the talks Monday.