United States and Mexican trade negotiators are making progress in their discussions on the revamping of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo. The issue of rules of origin on autos has been central to the summertime U.S. -Mexico discussions, she added.
Despite President Trump's statements of breaking NAFTA into two separate bilateral agreements (one with Mexico and one with Canada), Guajardo maintained Mexico's position that NAFTA remain one trilateral agreement.
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.
Officials on both sides have insisted that talks in Washington this week between the US and Mexico have been going well with the White House eager to make an announcement of a bilateral deal as soon as this week. Companies operating across North America have anxious that some of Trump's demands could hurt the region's economy.
The three countries have been negotiating for a year to salvage the trade pact that US President Donald Trump has said has been a "disaster" for the US. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.
After gaining as much as 1.2 percent to 18.7787 per dollar in early trading Friday, the peso reversed gains to trade at 19.0527. With signs of progress apparent, the high-level American-Mexican meetings stretched through the weekend. They include the USA proposal that NAFTA include a five-year sunset clause, which has been flatly rejected by the Trudeau Liberals.
Although he had indicated there could be a breakthrough this week, he said Thursday the talks would have to continue into next week. He's proposed regular evaluations without the threat of any sudden death to the agreement.
On Sunday, a Canadian government official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks, said any U.S. -Mexico agreements on matters that concern all three countries would still require Canada's signature.
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In the comment, she notes McCain's longtime service to the USA government, and she also sends well wishes to his family. Weeks leading up to his death , McCain called Trump "naïve" for meeting Vladimir Putin at the Helsinki Summit.
Among the issues that Mexico and the United States had reached agreement on is increasing the percentage of each individual automobile that has to be made in North America from the current 62.5% to 75%.
Canada has been waiting for the Mexican and US teams to reach common ground on autos before rejoining the negotiations.
After the talks broke for lunch a couple of hours later, Guajardo said he could not declare victory yet. It wasn't but a few years ago that Mexico's vast gas and oil reserves were opened up to worldwide investors and markets.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross (L) look on as Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal (R) speaks during a news conference on March 10, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Jesus Seade, Lopez Obrador's designated chief negotiator, told Radio Formula in Mexico City, called the deal "an important first step" and said Lopez Obrador "was very happy" with the results.
"Our relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour", Trump wrote. Washington has proposed tightening regional content requirements for vehicle production and having a certain percentage of a auto manufactured by higher-paid workers.
Both U.S. and Mexican trade officials hope to complete their negotiations soon so that they can present a deal for Canada to consider before Mexican President Peña Nieto leaves office on December 1. Asked whether that was still the plan, Guajardo said that it was a "very efficient timeline".