USTR Lighthizer eyes NAFTA 'breakthrough,' Mexico urges flexibility

Top US Trade Official Hopes for NAFTA 'Breakthrough' in Days

A 'Breakthrough' on Trade with Mexico May Be Days Away, U.S. Trade Rep Tells President

However, . Mexico's economy minister has suggested there's still work to be done before an agreement could be reached.

And then the question will be "whether Canada is finally willing to reengage in the process, sign off on what has been agreed and quickly resolve any key outstanding issues of concern to Canada", said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch.

Even if Trump really wanted that, Bachand said, he couldn't get it.

One of the major risks to the world economy is escalating trade disputes, the board of directors of Mexico's Central Bank said on Thursday.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures as he testifies before Senate Appropriations Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budget estimates and justification for FY2019 for the Office of the United States Trade Representative, at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., July 26, 2018.

US Trade Rep Lighthizer says that he is "hopeful" for a breakthrough on NAFTA with the next few days, and Pres. Trump shoots back "OK if there is no breakthrough".

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's remarks came on the one-year anniversary of the start of NAFTA's renegotiation.

US congressional rules on trade require that there be a 90-day period between the administration's notification of a deal and the actual signing of an agreement.

It's all the more risky because of the short time frame in which Mexico and the US are looking to seal a trilateral agreement. That would take the pressure off Lopez Obrador and allow him to focus on other priorities.

"Minister Freeland, Ambassador (David) MacNaughton and the Canadian negotiating team are in regular contact with their counterparts and we look forward to continuing these important discussions in the coming weeks", Adam Austen wrote in an email. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the committee, said the administration outlined its negotiating objectives for a three-country agreement to the congressional trade committees in May 2017 under the Trade Promotion Act.

Some auto industry executives have said the United States and Mexico are close to a deal to increase North American automotive content thresholds, with substantial requirements for content produced in high wage areas, namely the United States and Canada. No issue has occupied as much time as NAFTA's auto rules. Trump had directed most of his ire at Mexico because the USA carries an average $60 billion annual trade deficit with its southern neighbor.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, said he was more optimistic a deal on NAFTA would be reached after a recent phone conversation with Lighthizer. "It would be political gold going into the midterms", he said.

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