Trudeau positive on reaching new NAFTA deal with US, Mexico

A New NAFTA Deal Doesn't Seem Close, Despite Deadline

May 17 loomed as a deadline for a preliminary agreement after Paul Ryan, the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, last week said that for congress to approve a revamped NAFTA, an agreement in principle had to be submitted by that date, or congress would not have enough time to debate and approve it before legislative elections in November. Negotiators are working to wrap up chapters tied to the modernization of the agreement, which includes topics like the environment, energy, and financial services.

Canada and Mexico expressed continued resistance Thursday to the US proposal for a so-called sunset clause that would kill NAFTA after five years unless all parties agree to extend it. Trudeau said the idea is still a sticking point, while Guajardo said it was out of the question.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, declined on Thursday to comment on continuing negotiations but said that, on immigration, "the president does want to see Mexico step up and do more".

Among them: government procurement, US access to Canada's dairy market, the system for resolving trade disputes, and the USA proposal for a "sunset clause" that would automatically terminate NAFTA in five years absent a new endorsement from all three countries.

The talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been hung up on U.S. demands to increase American content in cars that receive duty free treatment in the trade bloc, and to have a sunset provision, which would require the three governments to renew the treaty after five years.

"We don't feel a deal with a sunset clause is much of a deal at all", Trudeau said.

"We will reach a deal when the deal is a good one", he told Mexican TV network Televisa. Mr. Austen also said that Canada, the US and Mexico have made "good progress" during this spring's talks, particularly on issues impacting the automotive industry.

Since his presidential campaign, Trump has called the Nafta accord, which took effect in 1994, a "horrible" deal for the US and threatened to withdraw if it could not be renegotiated. "We didn't get there last week, but we will keep trying to achieve it".

United States trade chief Robert Lighthizer has expressed some frustration on Thursday, as reported by Reuters, as the US' self-imposed deadline for a deal on NAFTA has slipped by without anybody seeming to care, and the NAFTA renegotiations continue to drag on.

Mexico will send part of its NAFTA team to Washington on Monday, and another contingent is already there, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Thursday.

The prime minister explained Canada's opposition in real estate terms.

That uncertainty has been compounded by the tariff threats.

Related news: