Josh Zumbrun and Robbie Whelan report for The Wall Street Journal that an agreement on NAFTA between the United States and Mexico could be reached as early as today. They write:
The U.S. and Mexico could reach a bilateral agreement as early as Monday on the key issues holding back a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to Mexico’s chief trade negotiator Ildefonso Guajardo.
Mr. Guajardo and the rest of Mexico’s trade delegation arrived at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative around midday Sunday—after negotiating in Washington, D.C. for weeks—and said they would do whatever necessary, including working into the night, to reach an agreement with the U.S. that would then allow the return of Canada to the talks.
Disagreements between Mexico and the U.S. have posed a major hurdle to renegotiating the Nafta agreement, which was a campaign promise of President Trump. Mr. Guajardo said that negotiators may still need about a week of talks with Canada before an agreement would be completed.
Trump administration officials and their Mexican counterparts are debating a proposal to exempt some industries from dispute-settlement provisions, which would remove one of the most difficult issues, the people said. The negotiations have also made progress over how much local content a car should have, and the cost of labor to produce a car, to qualify for tariff-free treatment under Nafta. The auto-related discussions are at an “advanced” stage, said one official familiar with the matter.
Heading into negotiations on Sunday, Mr. Guajardo said that there were still multiple issues outstanding, but that they were making their “best effort” at resolving them.
“Our relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour,” tweeted President Trump on Saturday morning, as negotiators continued their work. “A big Trade Agreement with Mexico could be happening soon!”
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