US Dashes Hopes for Quick NAFTA Deal Amid 'Gaping' Differences

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the Air Force One Pavilion at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley

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

Until last Friday, Mexican officials thought they had come to a compromise with their American counterparts on a key part of Nafta as they neared agreement on rules that would raise the share of an automobile's content that has to be made in the region to qualify for zero tariffs, and rules governing the minimum wages of those working on autos, according to a Mexican government official with knowledge of the talks.

Likewise, November's mid-term legislative elections are also bearing down in the United States, leaving lawmakers in the majority Republican party with little bandwidth to absorb a deal as they fight to hold on to power.

Politico says divisions among negotiators from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada on hard issues are driving a stake through the heart of President Donald Trump's goal of signing a new agreement into law this year.

Speaking at an event organised by the Economic Club of New York, Trudeau on Thursday said the three countries are close to strike a renegotiated NAFTA and there is "a good deal on the table" right now, Xinhua news agency reported.

It rebuffed an effort from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and several high-ranking staffers who were in the USA on Thursday urging a quick deal.

Mexico's economy minister said a deal could be reached later this month, but left hope negotiations could still take place after the country's presidential election July 1.

"We are close to a deal", the prime minister said in NY.

Canada and Mexico expressed continued resistance Thursday to the USA 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. "We didn't get there last week, but we will keep trying to achieve it".

Trudeau drew another public contradiction Thursday - this one from Mexico.

Trudeau used an example created to appeal to a certain former real-estate developer who is now the USA president; he compared the termination clause to building a skyscraper on a parcel of land you might lose in five years.

Mexican and Canadian officials on Thursday appeared to brush off the passage of an informal deadline set by the US Congress to reach a deal on revamping a continent-wide trade pact.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanDem rep to launch discharge petition to force net neutrality vote in House GOP leaders huddle with discharge petition backers, opponents Trade experts, lawmakers say NAFTA deal within reach MORE said Thursday that while he needed the NAFTA deal on Capitol Hill soon there may be a few weeks of "wiggle room" for a deal to be considered by the current Congress.

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