STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Mexico hopeful to conclude NAFTA talks with United States next week

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Thursday he hoped to get a breakthrough with Mexico in the coming days.

Published: 18th August 2018 06:56 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th August 2018 06:56 AM   |  A+A-

Flags are pictured during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada, in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017. (Reuters)

By AFP

WASHINGTON: US 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.

READ| Trump says in 'no rush' to get NAFTA deal

Once the two nations iron out the pending differences, Canada could then rejoin the discussions, he told reporters following a meeting with US trade officials.

The development raised hopes that a year's worth of sometimes fraught negotiations could reach a successful outcome by the end of the year.

"Hopefully we will be able to close up no later than the middle of the week the remaining issues and probably there will be space to start the trilateral," Guajardo said a day after the one-year anniversary of the talks' start.

Guajardo has been leading a delegation to Washington for four straight weeks to try to conclude a deal to rewrite NAFTA in time to be signed before a new government takes office in Mexico in December.

He said technical discussions would continue Monday and that he would return Tuesday to continue the high-level talks.

But there remain "a couple of things that have to be settled," including the US demand for a "sunset clause" that would end the trade pact after five years unless it was reauthorized.

"There is no breakthrough until everything is finished."

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Thursday he hoped to get a breakthrough with Mexico in the coming days.

But President Donald Trump on Thursday said he was in "no rush" to conclude a deal and reiterated that "NAFTA has been a disaster for our country."

The US, Mexico and Canada began talks to modernize the 24-year-old trade pact a year ago at Trump's insistence but the talks were hung up over US demands.

Recent discussions with Mexico are largely over provisions affecting the auto industry, and Guajardo said the sides had made "a lot of progress," but still needed to finalize details like the transition period for implementing new commitments.

Washington has sought to increase the content requirement of auto parts and components produced in North America in order for vehicles to receive duty free treatment, and also wants a portion to come from high wage areas -- which essentially means the United States and Canada.

But Guajardo said, "There are issues that have to be discussed at the trilateral level."

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Friday with Mexico's Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray to discuss NAFTA as well as immigration and security issues.

US officials have indicated that if the deal can be agreed by the end of August it would be possible to win congressional approval for the new NAFTA before Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1.

That would allow outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto to leave with a major accomplishment for his government.  

That also would put the deal in place before the new US Congress is seated in January, which would protect it from the possibility of opposition if Democrats win control of the legislature in the November mid-term elections.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp