Mexican EcoMin Guajardo: Mexico, US likely ‘hours’ away from NAFTA agreement

Mexican EcoMin Guajardo: Mexico, US likely ‘hours’ away from NAFTA agreement

Since Mexico's July 1 presidential election, the Mexico-U.

Trump said on Saturday that Washington could reach agreement with Mexico "soon" as the chief trade negotiator of Mexico's incoming president signaled possible solutions to energy rules and a contentious US "sunset clause" demand.

The US and Mexico are keen to seal a new deal before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto hands over power to Lopez Obrador on December 1, and for that to happen, the US Congress must be notified 90 days in advance. Companies operating across North America have anxious that some of Trump's demands could hurt the region's economy. The talks would resume on Monday in Washington.

Trump said on Saturday that Washington could reach agreement with Mexico "soon" as the chief trade negotiator of Mexico's incoming president signaled possible solutions to energy rules and a contentious USA "sunset clause" demand. "We are going to establish training schools for gym teachers, but at the same time these schools are going to be academies to train young people to be good baseball players".

The US and Mexico are trying to work out their bilateral issues before Canada rejoins the talks in an attempt to update the decades-old three-nation agreement. It was meant by the Trump administration as a mechanism to force a renegotiation of NAFTA every five years if the new terms failed to foster more balanced trade between the three countries.

A breakthrough in the talks was expected this week but Guajardo said that discussions would continue into the weekend and into next week. He's proposed regular evaluations without the threat of any sudden death to the agreement.

Even when Canada is asked to rejoin, its negotiating team might have to begin without Freeland.

Guajardo said he could not declare victory yet. Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, declined to comment on Sunday afternoon.

Talks to renegotiate NAFTA are running into a wall as the U.S. seeks to negotiate separately with both Mexico and Canada.

"There's been no indication of flexibility from the U.S. on this issue", a senior Canadian official told the AFP news agency on Thursday.

Jesus Seade, Lopez Obrador's designated chief negotiator, told Radio Formula in Mexico City, called the deal "an important first step" and said Lopez Obrador "was very happy" with the results.

"Our relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour", US President Donald Trump tweeted.

The U.S. and Mexico have been discussing a trade deal as part of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. agreed to keep the 2.5% tariff now applied under World Trade Organization rules if the cars are made at factories that already exist, according to two people familiar with the plans, who asked not to be named discussing private negotiations.

Still, the Trump administration has been seeking to impose a cap on Mexican vehicle and SUV exports to the United States that could be sent duty-free or at a 2.5 percent tariff, complicating the auto talks, three people with knowledge of the matter said.

Information for this article was contributed by Josh Wingrove of Bloomberg News.

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