Mexico Minister says in 'Final Hours' of Bilateral NAFTA Talks

27 August, 2018, 22:46 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • The Mexican peso is jumping on hope for NAFTA progress

Speaking as he arrived for talks at the U.S. Trade Representative's office, Guajardo said the negotiators would need at least a week to work with Canada, the third country in the trilateral trade pact, pushing any possible final deal into at least September.

Trump tweeted on Saturday morning that the United States' "relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour". "Some really good people within both the new and old government, and all working closely together...." Both Mexican and US officials hope to sign a new agreement before December 1, 2018, when Mexico's new president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes office.

The United States has softened its contentious demand for a NAFTA "sunset clause", Mexico's incoming trade negotiator said on Saturday, potentially eliminating a key obstacle to reaching a deal next week to revamp the trade pact.

An accord would open the way for Canada to re-enter the talks on the three-nation pact, which governs more than $1 trillion in annual trade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that his government "will only sign a good deal for Canadians".

Energy, the Journal reported, was left out of the original NAFTA when it came into force 24 years ago because Mexico's state monopoly on oil didn't allow private investment in the industry. Guajardo has signaled that the nation won't declare victory on the agreement until Canada also signs on.

The sunset issue is one of the biggest remaining obstacles to a Nafta deal as negotiators race to try to land a new Nafta agreement in principle by the end of August. He has said that the deal has been a "disaster" for American workers.


Asked about a potential deal on Monday, he said "That's why we're here; to make our best effort".

The U.S. on Thursday agreed to keep the 2.5 percent tariff now applied under World Trade Organization rules if the cars are made at factories that already exist, which leaves open the possibility that automobiles that are built at new plants could face tariffs of 20 percent to 25 percent.

Including pickups, Mexico exported more than 2.3-million vehicles to the USA in 2017. "But we haven've finished this stage yet", he said.

However, representatives of US agricultural, manufacturing and other sectors have cautioned the White House that walking away could be a blow for the USA economy.

Since Mexico's July 1 presidential vote, the bilateral talks have been complicated by the divisions between the incoming and outgoing Mexican administrations over the energy policy.

Long skeptical of foreign companies entering the Mexican oil industry, Lopez Obrador opposed Pena Nieto's energy reform.

Lopez Obrador, who will take office on December 1, took a break from his routine of meetings on Thursday and posted a video of himself on a baseball field, where took a turn at bat and connected solidly on about a half-dozen pitches.

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