U.S., Mexico Push for NAFTA Autos Deal, Eye Canada's Return

U.S., Mexico Push for NAFTA Autos Deal, Eye Canada's Return”

Seade, who represents incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, said the U.S. -Mexico agreement could be struck as soon as this week, but possibly next week.

The letter could raise resistance to a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement from lawmakers in southern states where foreign manufacturers have built auto plants, Reuters said.

President Donald Trump, who launched the renegotiation of the 1994 pact a year ago, has said he wants the reworked deal to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, particularly in autos and auto parts, the news agency noted. He hopes to reduce the US trade deficit with lower-cost Mexico and claw back jobs, particularly in the automotive industry.

There's optimism that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo could conclude their face-to-face negotiations as early as this week - and open the door for Canada to re-enter the talks.

The tone has become more cautious since then. Guajardo himself said last week he was expecting to hold meetings again in Washington this Tuesday.

Officials are expected to announce that the United States and Mexico, which have been meeting together for the last several weeks, have made enough progress on various two-way issues to be able to announce what one source described as a "handshake" deal.

Blunt said that the group shared the overall goals of the administration of strengthening auto manufacturing in the USA and the creation of jobs and given how important NAFTA is for the US industry, the group urges negotiators to complete their talks quickly.

The Trump administration wants to be able to impose national security tariffs on future Mexican output from new auto assembly and parts plants, auto industry officials say. And whether the announcement even happens could entirely hinge on how high-level talks between the US and Mexico go on Wednesday.

"NAFTA is a trilateral agreement, but inside that agreement there are a lot of issues that are chiefly bilateral and that is what they're focused on", Freeland said.

"We've not really been making any recommendations to the USA government on that topic", he told reporters on a conference call.

But even with the prospect of progress, it remained unclear Wednesday precisely when Canada might be invited back to the bargaining table, let alone when - or even if - the three continental neighbours might wrap up the renegotiation effort that began more than a year ago. It accounts for almost half of USA vehicle production. In rules of origin for autos, "Mexico clearly had to look for flexibilities because Canada was relatively comfortable with the original (U.S.) proposal", the source said.

US and Mexican officials say they will push for a deal on reworking auto industry rules that could open the door for Canada to return.

"We need to get an engagement with Canada and the only way that can happen is if we continue through the weekend and into next week", said Guajardo. "Very central there is rules of origin on cars".

"We are already looking at all the issues".

The Trump administration's talks with Mexico are seen as an important precursor to a three-way final deal with Canada on a revised NAFTA.

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