Monday, 17 December, 2018

NAFTA 'hot topics' unresolved as deal deadline looms, says USA official Ross

NAFTA 'hot topics' unresolved as deal deadline looms, says USA official Ross NAFTA 'hot topics' unresolved as deal deadline looms, says USA official Ross
Kristopher Love | 17 May, 2018, 01:37

Mexico's economy minister said that he saw diminishing chances for a new North American Free Trade Agreement ahead of a Thursday deadline to present a deal that could be signed by the current U.S. Congress.

"You have to continue to negotiate and the moment you reach a good negotiation, close the deal", he added.

Negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been in intense talks since late last month to try to reach a deal before upcoming USA congressional elections.

The lingering uncertainty over the future of the 24-year-old trade pact, coupled with the upcoming election, has placed pressure on the Mexican peso, Guajardo said.

There are no definite plans for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to meet this week with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo or Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, although negotiating teams from the three countries are still meeting.

"They have failed to reach an agreement, and the divisions are fairly fundamental, so I'm not certain that even if Ryan comes back and says, 'I didn't really mean it, there's wiggle room, ' that it's going to make a difference", Alden said.

The currency fell to its lowest level in more than a year yesterday and some analysts believe that it will continue to decline in the lead-up to the election, which according to opinion polls, Andrés Manuel López Obrador is likely to win. "So depending on where we are on NAFTA on June 1, the president will decide whether or not to extend their situation", Ross said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday discussed the possibility of bringing NAFTA talks to a "prompt conclusion".

If that is not possible, she said it would be better to complete the negotiation after the next government takes office at the start of December.

However, U.S. demands for a so-called sunset clause that would see NAFTA automatically expire if the agreement is not renegotiated every five years as well as the elimination of settlement panels for trade disputes remain sticking points.

Sanders did not address Ryan's timeline, but said Trump was adamant he would get a deal "that works for America". Neither Canada nor Mexico wants that.

Democratic Rep. Rosa DeLauro of CT on Wednesday urged negotiators to continue their talks, saying Ryan's deadline is arbitrary.

Officials from Canada and Mexico were in D.C. last week working on the terms of a deal, but nothing was reached.