Canada in holding pattern as US, Mexico work on bilateral NAFTA issues

Canada in holding pattern as US, Mexico work on bilateral NAFTA issues

President said Friday that a trade deal with is "coming along nicely".

Asked as he arrived for Friday's talks in Washington if he could finish the US-Mexico issues on Friday, Guajardo said "I don't think today but we are very close".

The steps to reach agreement could allow Canada to rejoin talks next week, he told reporters as he entered meetings for the second day with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

Trump took a different tact, however, with Canada.

Guajardo stressed that the most hard issues had been left to the end, including the USA demand that NAFTA be approved every 5 years, a provision known as a sunset clause.

"We keep working, we are advancing and progressing with various issues, this morning we covered a good number of them", Guajardo said.

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He said any deal with Mexico must take care of American autoworkers and farmers, but he praised the new president of Mexico, calling him "an absolute gentleman".

"It benefits the United States to continue being a major ally of Mexico, as a neighbor and as a regional economy, which combined makes us the most powerful in the world", he said.

In response, Canadian officials announced "dollar for dollar" retaliatory tariffs, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called them at the time, to the tune of over C$16 billion in US imports.

Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed that his country would not be threatened by a wall.

But the USA side was sticking to a hard stance in the final stretch of the year-old NAFTA talks, trying to extract concessions as another late August deadline for a deal approaches, one industry representative said.

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