Mexico hopeful to conclude NAFTA talks with US next week

Canada deliberately sidelined from latest NAFTA talks, Trump suggests

U.S.-Mexico bilateral NAFTA issues may be resolved next week: minister

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Thursday expressed hope a breakthrough could be made in coming days on reworking the NAFTA trade deal, though his Mexican counterpart said flexibility was needed to reach agreement.

During a televised cabinet meeting today, the USA president said his administration isn't negotiating with Canada right now, before adding that its tariffs are too high and barriers too strong.

Trump said on Thursday, 'I'm in no rush.

"We're either going to do a good NAFTA, a fair NAFTA for us, or we're not doing NAFTA at all", he said.

In a jibe to Canada, Trump repeated his claim that the country's tariffs and trade barriers were "too high", which was why the United States wasn't even talking to them right now. Mexico wants to finalize a deal before President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office on december 1 and his less trade-friendly replacement takes over. Their barriers are too strong. "They've preferred bilateral negotiations, and I think that might be a reason why we're seeing some progress".

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The Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, was equally optimistic that a trade deal could come soon. A breakthrough between Mexico and the United States could come soon, but NAFTA talks will remain a slow affair until US sticking points with Canada can be resolved.

"If you don't have a breakthrough, as you call it, don't do the deal because it's a lousy situation for the United States", he told Lighthizer.

Mexico has not yet engaged with the United States over a "sunset clause" that could kill NAFTA after five years, he added. Guajardo will return to Washington, .

USA officials have indicated that if the deal can be agreed by the end of August it would be possible to win congressional approval for the new NAFTA before Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1.

That also would put the deal in place before the new US Congress is seated in January, which would protect it from the possibility of opposition if Democrats win control of the legislature in the November mid-term elections.

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