Trump says in 'no rush' to get NAFTA deal

19 August, 2018, 17:23 | Author: Regina Silva
  • The flags of Canada Mexico and the U.S. are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City

In a recent tweet regarding NAFTA's renegotiation, President Trump said the "deal with Mexico is coming along nicely" and that "Canada must wait".

Canada, meanwhile, has shown less urgency to complete a revision of the 24-year-old pact, but is expected to return to the bargaining table once the USA and Mexico settle their differences.

New sticking points emerged last week over President Donald Trump's threat to impose steep automotive tariffs.

"Canada and Mexico have been strong USA allies, and NAFTA has benefited millions of American farmers, ranchers and entrepreneurs", he said.

Mexico's economy minister on Wednesday said that Mexico and the United States may not meet an August goal to finish bilateral talks to revamp the Nafta trade deal, which is beset by disagreements over automobile trade rules and other issues.

The U.S resumed negotiations with Mexico n July after talks that included Canada stalled.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has been leading the delegation, and said Canada would rejoin the talks once the issues more relevant to his country had been worked out.

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In exchange, the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, appears to be showing flexibility on an earlier demand for an automatic five-year termination of NAFTA and a proposal to make it easier for the U.S.to press anti-dumping claims against seasonal produce like tomatoes from Mexico. "NAFTA will continue because the power in the U.S. Senate is very strong in commercial decisions, and governors also have a big influence".

At the Senate hearing, it was unclear how far-reaching a preliminary agreement with Mexico could be.

USA officials have indicated that if the deal can be agreed by the end of August it would be possible to win congressional approval for the new NAFTA before Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the committee, said the administration outlined its negotiating objectives for a three-country agreement to the congressional trade committees in May 2017 under the Trade Promotion Act.

Trade negotiators have sounded optimistic in recent weeks. No issue has occupied as much time as NAFTA's auto rules.

The U.S. president has argued the deal has facilitated an exodus of manufacturing jobs from the United States to Mexico.

The understanding with Mexico would raise the regional-content level to 70 percent or higher and set a similar rule of origin for steel and aluminum in vehicles. The hope is that more jobs would stay in the US and that European and Japanese automakers would source more parts in the U.S.to avoid the tariffs. But talks bogged down over several USA proposals, such as a provision that would allow any one of the three countries to walk away from NAFTA after five years, and a provision to make optional the investor-state dispute settlement process that allows corporations to use private, three-person arbitration panels to seek monetary damages for a country's policies or laws they say affect their bottom line. "It would be political gold going into the midterms", he said.

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