NAFTA Talks Reach One-Year Mark, Close to U.S. Mexico Agreement

Cornelia Mascio
Agosto 20, 2018

Guajardo will return to Washington, .

United States and Mexican negotiators are making progress and could resolve remaining issues to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement by next week, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Friday.

Donald Trump is suggesting the United States has deliberately left Canada on the NAFTA sidelines as negotiations between Washington and Mexico have heated up in recent weeks.

Sector-specific teams are continuing to meet, he said after meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Friday.

"We have everything on the table, there are no preconditions and we'll see at the end how the whole thing falls into place", Guajardo said as Thursday's meetings concluded.

NAFTA talks ground to a halt in late May in the run-up to the presidential election in Mexico on July 1.

Though tensions with Canada remain, President Trump is ready to close on a new NAFTA deal with our southern neighbor with a particular emphasis on auto trade to keep more production jobs in the US and helping Mexico with flexibility on anti-dumping claims on seasonal produce.

Deal-making progress is expected with Canada after the bilateral negotiations between the USA and Mexico are completed.

Some auto industry executives have said the United States and Mexico are close to a deal to increase North American automotive content thresholds, with substantial requirements for content produced in high wage areas, namely the United States and Canada.

Speaking during a White House cabinet meeting with US President Donald Trump on Thursday, Lighthizer however also noted that there was still "some hard issues to work on".

Trump added that NAFTA has "been a disaster for our country".

Politico reports the political situation in both countries is such that each is more eager than ever to make a deal, setting up a scenario in which significant progress could be on the near horizon.

"Our focus remains defending Canadian interests as we work towards a modernized, updated NAFTA agreement".

Asked about Trump's remarks Thursday, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Ottawa's officials remain in touch with their American and Mexican partners. This would protect the deal from the possibility of opposition if Democrats win control of the legislature.

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