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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Canada Is upbeat,Mexico Says NAFTA Deal Unlikely This Week

Canada Is upbeat,Mexico Says NAFTA Deal Unlikely This Week

Mexico’s economy minister said that he saw diminishing chances for a new North American Free Trade Agreement ahead of a Thursday deadline to present a deal that could be signed by the current U.S. Congress.  U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new NAFTA deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance of approving it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January.
“It is not easy. We do not think we will have it by Thursday,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told broadcaster Televisa on Tuesday. But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a more upbeat tone, telling reporters in Calgary a few hours later, “There is very much an eminently achievable outcome … and we are very close.”
“We are going to continue to remain optimistic,” said Trudeau. He met with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday and discussed the possibility of bringing NAFTA talks to a “prompt conclusion.”
Negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been in intense talks since last month to try to reach a deal before U.S. congressional elections in November. Mexico’s presidential vote on July 1 also complicates the process.
“We will keep negotiating, and in the moment that we have a good negotiation, we can close the deal … independent of which Congress (the current or new) that will vote on it,” said Guajardo. Mexico’s peso sank to its weakest level in over a year on Tuesday, and the country’s benchmark stock index fell about 1 percent to its lowest since early April. Guajardo said the talks could be concluded before or just after the July 1 vote. Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is leading polls to win the presidential race, and his pick for economy minister, Graciela Marquez, said last month his administration would be willing to accept a deal struck before the election.