Trump, Mexico expect progress in stalled NAFTA talks

Alicia Cross
July 27, 2018

The NAFTA renegotiation has been on hold since late spring because of the July 1 Mexican presidential election that will see Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador sworn in this coming December.

"Otherwise, I must go a much different route", Trump said in response to a letter delivered to him by a delegation of US officials led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that visited Lopez Obrador in Mexico City on July 13.

The letter also called on the U.S.to work with Mexico and Central American governments on a development plan to address the root causes of migration, proposing to tackle the poverty and violence that forces people to migrate in the first place, and create jobs while strengthening borders. Mr. Seade, the Lopez Obrador trade adviser, told Mexican radio that he believes it's nearly inevitable a deal can be reached within months.

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In a speech at the White House about USA manufacturing Monday, Mr. Trump also spoke optimistically about terms with Mexico.

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Morneau said that he sensed "optimism" from Mnuchin about moving forward on NAFTA, and that Mnuchin had assured him that the administration was committed to a trilateral deal despite Trump's suggestion that the United States could move forward with separate bilateral deals. "I don't think it's going to happen".

Canada, however, is willing to agree to everything Mr. Trump wants on autos, now that Washington has dropped its demand for 50 per cent USA content on vehicles manufactured in NAFTA countries and sold in the United States, the official said. The U.S.is angling for higher North American content in vehicles and for production to favor jurisdictions that pay more than $16 an hour, which is over five times the hourly wage for most Mexican auto workers.

The United States is also exploring the possibility of imposing tariffs on auto imports, though Guajardo said it was too early to speculate on how that would play out.

The Trump administration lobbied in June for individual trade deals with Canada and Mexico after three-way talks fizzled.

Chile's Pinera said he met with aides to Lopez Obrador, and said he was confident the next Mexican president would remain committed to free trade. Both Canada and Mexico are willing to agree to a review of NAFTA however.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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