Nafta Countries 'Nowhere Near Close to a Deal,' Trump's Negotiator Says

18 May, 2018, 13:47 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • A New NAFTA Deal Doesn't Seem Close, Despite Deadline

Several missed deadlines later and there is still no end in sight for the ongoing renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). There's no date for him to meet with Lighthizer and Freeland, Guajardo said.

Kind was one of about 35 members of Congress who met with the trade representative.

"He's not going to stop until he gets it", she added.

Trade talks normally take years. Trade worries have added to fears that the bull market in United States stocks since Trump's election may have come to an end.

Lighthizer is scheduled to attend meetings on Thursday and Friday with the Chinese vice premier, Liu He. "There are gaping differences", Lighthizer said in an evening statement. And if the Democrats do end up taking the House in November - a realistic (if not assured) scenario - the Trump administration's endeavour to get a new deal "that works for everybody, but most importantly... a deal that works for America" could very well hit a brick wall.

Until last Friday, Mexican officials thought they had come to a compromise with their American counterparts on a key part of Nafta as they neared agreement on rules that would raise the share of an automobile's content that has to be made in the region to qualify for zero tariffs, and rules governing the minimum wages of those working on autos, according to a Mexican government official with knowledge of the talks.

Lighthizer's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A New NAFTA Deal Doesn't Seem Close, Despite Deadline

Chief Mexican NAFTA negotiator Kenneth Smith said that the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto had a responsibility to keep negotiating until Mexico's new president, who will be elected on July 1, takes office on December 1.

"An terrible lot of things would have to go right in order for this to be voted on in this Congress", said Eric Miller, a Washington-based trade adviser and Woodrow Wilson Center fellow. "We can't work a bill unless we have an agreement that's in writing that we can work, and that hasn't occurred yet", Ryan told reporters in Washington. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady says "we're hopeful they'll continue to make progress on this agreement".

The NAFTA renegotiations are expected to now enter a period of prolonged delay because of the Mexican presidential election in July and the USA congressional midterm elections in November.

It rebuffed an effort from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and several high-ranking staffers who were in the US on Thursday urging a quick deal.

Trump could decide to leave NAFTA entirely.

In Mexico, officials on Thursday downplayed the importance of Ryan's deadline.

Even if the parties wanted to seal something quickly, there would have to be a breakthrough on multiple fronts.

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