US, Mexico reportedly close to finalizing new NAFTA deal
Aug 28, 2018, 00:36
He also said that he would be "terminating" NAFTA, and that the name of the new deal would be the the U.S. -Mexico Trade Agreement. Trump, like labour unions in the USA and Canada, has expressed concern about the NAFTA-era migration of auto jobs to lower-wage Mexico.
Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo cited unspecified "advances" following eight hours of talks Sunday with a team led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner. "We're going to call it the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement, and we'll get rid of the name NAFTA". Canada has not yet agreed to join the agreement, and Trump said on Monday that he would be in touch with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau "very soon" to discuss Canada's participation in a new deal.
"It's a big day for trade, it's a big day for our country", Trump said with reporters present, who were called to the Oval Office to watch as Trump spoke on the telephone with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Under its mandate from the U.S. Congress, American negotiators are only authorized to negotiate a trilateral NAFTA agreement.
Representatives from the USA and Mexico tentatively struck a deal Monday to revise key portions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, possibly bringing to an end monthslong barbs between the two countries about fair trade and escalating tariff threats.
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"It's an incredible deal for both parties", Mr Trump said.
In response, Canadian Foreign Affairs spokesperson Adam Austen told Daily Hive that Canada will only sign a new NAFTA "that is good for Canada and good for the middle class". The new rules would also likely require key components to have more domestic content.
The plan would not contain an automatic expiration for NAFTA as proposed in the prior USA demand for a "sunset clause". A breakthrough between the US and Canada on wages would be a big development, but Canada would still have to agree on that and all other issues.
Another key part of the new trade deal increases the percentage of a vehicle that must be made in North America to qualify for lower-tariff import into the USA.
While Trump has floated the idea of negotiating bilateral trade accords - finalizing one with Mexico before moving to pursue a separate pact with Canada - both Mexico and Canada have said they want to keep a three-nation deal.
There is no formal free trade deal between the United States and Mexico, only an agreement between the two countries on how to resolve key issues in their trade relationship as part of the NAFTA talks.
During a televised call on Monday with Peña Nieto, Trump praised the trade deal.
U.S., Mexican and Canadian stocks opened higher on Monday on optimism about a trade deal.
Moreover, revising NAFTA would require Congressional approval and Congress might reject a deal that doesn't include all three countries.
The No. 2 Senate Republican, John Cornyn of Texas, hailed Monday's news as a "positive step" but said Canada needs to be party to a final deal.
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