US and Mexico make NAFTA breakthrough, increasing chances of final deal

US and Mexico make NAFTA breakthrough, increasing chances of final deal

President Donald Trump reached a deal with Mexico Monday on a new trade pact.

Despite Trump's signal that the deal could lead to a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Mexico, Peña Nieto, through a translator, expressed his "desire that now Canada will also be able to be incorporated in this".

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto spoke to Trudeau on Monday and urged Ottawa to rapidly rejoin the talks with the goal of getting a final NAFTA rewrite this week. He called the agreement "a really good deal for both countries", and added that negotiations with Canada will start soon, or additional tariffs on Canadian imports will be applied.

Canada, which is part of the 24-year-old Nafta pact, was not participating in the announcement.

U.S. and Mexican negotiators are keen to seal a new deal before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto hands over power to president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on December 1.

While announcing a bilateral trade "understanding" with Mexico that could overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening more tariffs against Canada.

In a televised appearance at the White House, Mr Trump said the two sides had agreed on terms that made for an "incredible" deal that was "much more fair".

There is one bilateral difference left to iron out, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters early on Monday as he entered the Washington office of the U.S. Trade Representative's office where negotiations are going on.

Adam Austen, who speaks for the foreign affairs minister, says Canada had been in regular contact with the NAFTA negotiators. We will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class.

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The deal also would require 40 percent to 45 percent of auto content to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour, the second official said. Both Canada and Mexico, as well as many in the US business community, reject that idea. But what Trump's going for here is headlines saying he won ... and too many USA media outlets will probably give him that.

If Canada is excluded in the new deal, it would mark a major shift in USA trade policy. A senior U.S. trade official said there are hopes that a final three-nation accord can be reached by Friday.

Moreover, revising NAFTA would require Congressional approval and Congress might reject a deal that doesn't include all three countries.

Pena Nieto said on Twitter he had spoken to Trudeau late on Sunday and urged Canada to return to the talks with the aim of concluding a three-nation accord "this week".

Companies operating across North America have anxious that some of Trump's demands could hurt the region's economy, especially given the way supply chains and other inter-dependencies between the countries have developed.

As the Toronto Star's Daniel Dale tweeted, "Basically, what keeps happening is that Trump says things about making two separate two-country deals with Canada and with Mexico, then his administration just keeps working on the three-country NAFTA". Asked about whether Mexico would be willing to sign a deal without Canada, a senior Administration official demurred, offering arguments for why the country might want to without saying that it would.

Talks to update NAFTA began a year ago, but in recent weeks have been held between just the USA and Mexico.

A Canadian official declined to comment and referred back to remarks from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said last week he was encouraged by optimism coming from the US and Mexico but won't sign just any deal.

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