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Foreign affairs minister 'very keen' to quickly wrap up NAFTA negotiations

07 August 2018

Talks to modernize the 1994 trade pact started in August 2017 but have dragged on much longer than expected as Canada and Mexico pushed back against far-reaching US demands for reform.

"There won't be any deal until there's everything", he said.

Asked whether Canada had a Plan B, MacNaughton said there isn't one.

She says negotiations fizzled out ahead of the presidential vote, but that the three parties had agreed to pick talks back up after the results were decided.

Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is away from the talks, attending a meeting in Singapore this week.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Thursday that talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States will cover all outstanding issues in the negotiations. Canadian officials dismiss speculation that she is being sidelined.

Freeland says that's because her counterparts were discussing issues of more importance to their two countries, and says she's been in close contact with both over the past week.

"This is a trilateral negotiation - as both the Mexicans and Americans have reiterated yet again in the last few days", David McNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the USA, said in a statement.

Guajardo told reporters before a meeting at the U.S. Trade Representative office in Washington that there will not be a deal on controversial auto sector rules until all NAFTA issues are resolved.

The train is departing the station very soon. It also cites $2 billion worth of goods crossing the U.S. Lighthizer predicted he would reach an agreement with Mexico soon, which he hoped could then be used to leverage "compromises" from Canada that had not been forthcoming thus far.

After missing this week's discussions, Clark added there's a risk Canada could find itself being forced into a take-it-or-leave-it situation on provisions agreed upon by the USA and Mexico.

Seade said the issue of the sunset clause could be broached next week.

Numerous vehicles exported from Mexico to the US are only produced there, meaning production couldn't be easily switched out of Mexico, while wages actually make up a relatively small five to 10 per cent of a vehicle's cost, said Joe McCabe of AutoForecast Solutions in Chester Springs, Pa.

Foreign affairs minister 'very keen' to quickly wrap up NAFTA negotiations