Not in a rush to get NAFTA deal

  • Not in a rush to get NAFTA deal

Not in a rush to get NAFTA deal

But Mexico's next economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said that other countries needed to be "flexible" in the talks, likely referencing the United States' firm stance on several issues.

Lighthizer was speaking in Washington during the latest round of high-level talks between USA 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.

Trump has driven the USA negotiating process, threatening to dump NAFTA if it is not renegotiated in favor of the United States. The administration has recently been working directly with Mexico, as it continues a war of words with Canada.

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

Canada, the third partner in NAFTA, has been absent from face-to-face talks in recent weeks. "So if you can't make the right deal, don't make it", Trump told Lighthizer. "They've preferred bilateral negotiations, and I think that might be a reason why we're seeing some progress".

"We're either going to do a good NAFTA, a fair NAFTA for us, or we're not doing NAFTA at all", he said.

After the election, USA and Mexican officials began meeting again without the third member of the pact, Canada, in an effort to tackle hard issues, including revamped automotive sector rules and a sunset clause that could kill NAFTA after five years if it is not renegotiated.

Deal-making progress is expected with Canada after the bilateral negotiations between the US and Mexico are completed.

Though tensions with Canada remain, President Trump is ready to close on a new NAFTA deal with our southern neighbor with a particular emphasis on auto trade to keep more production jobs in the USA and helping Mexico with flexibility on anti-dumping claims on seasonal produce. The ministers will meet again on Tuesday, he said.

Guajardo also sounded an optimistic note Friday, where he wrapped up his fourth straight week of discussions with Lighthizer. "Most of the agenda - Mexico-U.S. - has been advancing well, and we still have to be back next week".