US, Mexico move closer to NAFTA consensus, but key hurdles remain

US, Mexico move closer to NAFTA consensus, but key hurdles remain

Any handshake agreement announced on bilateral issues between the US and Mexico would be the biggest breakthrough in negotiations that began more than year ago.

The sticking point between Mexico and the USA has been reworking automotive industry rules.

"We hope that we'll have a solution in the next couple of hours, or the next couple of days", Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters before entering the offices of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for NAFTA talks.

"We are making progress in the chapters that will modernize our agreement, and Mexico will continue working constructively on all fronts", Mexico's chief NAFTA negotiator Kenneth Smith said Tuesday on Twitter. One Mexican official told Reuters that he expected bilateral talks to be resolved by early next week.

"But we are in very close contact with both the U.S. and Mexico".

But even with the prospect of progress, it remained unclear Wednesday precisely when Canada might be invited back to the bargaining table, let alone when - or even if - the three continental neighbours might wrap up the renegotiation effort that began more than a year ago.

Mexico said as recently as late July that it still regards Washington's demand for sunset clause as a deal breaker and emphasized that is only interested in a three-way NAFTA deal that includes Canada.

Officials are expected to announce that the U.S. and Mexico, which have been meeting together for the last several weeks, have made enough progress on various two-way issues to be able to announce what one source described as a "handshake" deal. Politico reported on Tuesday that President Donald Trump was poised to announce a handshake deal with Mexico as soon as Thursday, citing unidentified sources.

Mollie Tibbetts autopsy finds that she died by multiple sharp force injuries
We need Republicans to do it because Democrats aren't going to do it. Republicans such as President Donald Trump and Iowa Gov. The statement did not, however, mention immigration.

Scott Morrison to become Australia's next prime minister
He also thanked deputy prime minister Julie Bishop for being a "rockstar" for the Liberal Party as a foreign minister. It's also an global embarrassment for a nation that prides itself as a safe and stable democracy in which to invest.

SUMMIT SUSPENDED: The President CANCELS North Korea Talks, Cites 'Insufficient Progress'
He added: "In the meantime I would like to send my warmest regards and respect to Chairman Kim". Pompeo had not said he expected to meet with Kim during his now-canceled trip.

The U.S. Trade Representative's office maintains there "is no deal on NAFTA", adding "there are major issues outstanding".

Mexico's Guajardo last month expressed hope that there could be a preliminary NAFTA deal by the end of August, but he has since appeared to pull back from that position. U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross later said the two countries could reach agreement in the "very near future".

The sunset clause, which Mexico and Canada fear could hurt long-term investment, was not discussed Wednesday, Seade said.

Another American source familiar with the negotiations confirmed Monday that Mexico and the USA are "about done" their negotiations.

United States and Mexican officials say they will push for a deal on reworking auto industry rules that could open the door for Canada to return to negotiations soon. In rules of origin for autos "Mexico clearly had to look for flexibilities because Canada was relatively comfortable with the original [U.S.] proposal".

It has pushed to tighten regional content requirements for vehicle production and to have a certain percentage of cars manufactured by higher-paid workers, which could undermine Mexico.

Freeland said auto rules of origin were also important to her government, and that "Canada will very much have a voice in the finalization of all of this".

Reuters noted automotive experts have said some foreign brand automakers with smaller North American manufacturing footprints and fewer U.S. research and development staff may have difficulty meeting the more stringent content requirements for years.

Related Articles