Published: Tue, August 07, 2018

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

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

In his interview earlier in the day, MacNaughton said next Canadian negotiators could be back at the table as early as next week for three-way talks.

Still, much work remains, including talks with Canada on dairy issues, as the US dairy industry wants Canada to abandon its dairy supply management program, a move Canada has repeatedly shot down.

Mexico's economy minister said on Friday that Mexico and the United States could overcome key stumbling blocks standing in the way of a new NAFTA deal next week, adding that Canada would likely soon rejoin the negotiations.

They insisted Canada had to be involved in a final deal - although they also said they've already resolved several NAFTA chapters alone with the States - but no one could say if Canadians would show up next week.

Negotiators for Mexico and the United States have reached agreement on about 20 topics during talks to revamp Nafta, Mexico's economy minister said on Thursday, although he conceded that some of the thorniest issues remained unresolved.

Canadian officials likewise did not predict when they might be back in formal talks, but said any notion that they have been frozen out is erroneous.

"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. They say the NAFTA trade deficit frequently bemoaned by President Donald Trump concerns Mexico, making resolving issues with that country of high importance for the Americans. "Anyone who says otherwise is misinformed".

Ildefonso Guajardo said after leaving a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that the group had yet to discuss issues such as the "sunset clause", a provision sought by the United States under which the agreement would have to be renegotiated every five years. It also cites $2 billion worth of goods crossing the U.S.

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 US and Mexico.

Mexican and US officials are due to meet again next week to work on contentious issues such as wages and rules governing how much North American produced content an automobile must contain to qualify for duty-free status. "We have said that is not something we can work with".

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