Secy Pompeo Meets With Mexico's Foreign Secretary Over NAFTA

Marco Green
August 20, 2018

During the cabinet meeting, Lighthizer told the room he's hopeful for a NAFTA breakthrough with Mexico in the coming days - but Trump said he's in no rush to make a deal unless it's the right one.

The progress comes as the two countries race to finish working out changes to the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, which has been under negotiation for a year.

President Donald Trump may claim another significant win next week on the global trade front as negotiations with Mexico are expected to conclude. The Trump administration has said an agreement with Mexico will put pressure on Canada to soften some of its demands.

Robertson says he thinks the USA will eventually work to achieve an agreement between all three countries, because getting the needed approvals through Congress would be far more challenging, otherwise.

And Trump again aimed a jibe at Canada, saying "Their tariffs are too high". They've stressed that there have been a lot of one-on-one talks during NAFTA's renegotiation process. "So if you can't make the right deal, don't make it", Trump told Lighthizer.

In their efforts to update the 24-year-old NAFTA pact, USA and Mexican officials have been working over the past four weeks to iron out differences over provisions affecting the auto industry.

Guajardo has stressed that the most hard issues had been left to the end, including the USA demand that NAFTA be approved every five years, a provision known as a sunset clause. Trump has repeatedly argued existing NAFTA rules have facilitated an exodus of manufacturing jobs from the United States to Mexico, especially in the automobile sector. "Most of the agenda - Mexico-U.S. - has been advancing well, and we still have to be back next week".

Departing from morning talks at Lighthizer's offices, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo suggested there was still work to be done before agreement could be reached.

After the election, US and Mexican officials began meeting again without the third member of the pact, Canada, in an effort to tackle hard issues, including revamped automotive sector rules and a sunset clause that could kill NAFTA after five years if it is not renegotiated.

But preserving Trump's ability to levy national security tariffs on Mexican-produced autos that either do not comply with the new rules or from newly built auto plants has been a thorny issue in recent weeks. He says a number of individual issues have plagued negotiators for the past few months.

U.S. 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.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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