U.S. trade official hopes for breakthrough in NAFTA talks

Lloyd Doyle
August 20, 2018

Lighthizer was speaking in Washington during the latest round of high-level talks between US and Mexican officials to rejig the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, with a deal still elusive a year after the renegotiation began.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday expressed hope a breakthrough could be made in coming days on reworking the NAFTA trade deal, though his Mexican counterpart said flexibility was needed to reach agreement.

"I think it tries to send a signal to Canada that we, as the United States, will deal with you separately", Robertson says. Guajardo will return to Washington, .

The progress comes as the two countries race to finish working out changes to the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been under negotiation for a year.

U.S. President Donald Trump, however, said alongside him he was in "no rush" to conclude talks on NAFTA, which he wants renegotiated in favor of the United States.

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.

"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. The ministers will meet again on Tuesday, he said.

He stressed that the most hard issues had been left to the end, including the U.S. demand that NAFTA be approved every five years - a provision known as a sunset clause.

Guajardo said that the few remaining issues, mainly involving autos, are close to resolution, but Canada could be a fly in the ointment.

Most of the issues between Mexico and the United States are "advancing well", the minister added.

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.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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