Lawmakers Renew Call for Completing NAFTA This Week


Trade negotiators for the United States, Canada and Mexico are running out of time to complete an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement, making it likely the effort won't be completed this year.

"To be honest, we are down to a point where there is a good deal on the table", Trudeau told the Economic Club of NY, saying top Canadian officials were in Washington for talks on how to advance the negotiations.

Adam Austen, Press Secretary for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said in a media statement that "the process of congressional ratification is internal to the US", not a matter for Canada. In fact, speaking in NY today, Canada's Trudeau, who is feeling positive about NAFTA, said that it has been incredibly positive for all 3 nations and that there is good NAFTA deal on the table. Mexico's presidential election will be held in July, and the expected victor could take a harder stance against President Donald Trump and renegotiating the trade deal.

Dan Ujczo, an global trade lawyer, told Politico that to reach an agreement, negotiators may have to concede to a "skinny NAFTA", one without addressing key issues including reducing the trade deficit, preventing job outsourcing and providing better market access to Canada for USA dairy farmers.

For that to happen, though, the United States and Mexico would have to end what officials say is deadlock over USA demands to raise wages in the auto sector and boost the North American content of cars made in the three NAFTA nations.

"Any renegotiated NAFTA that implies losses of existing Mexican jobs is unacceptable", Guajardo said in a tweet.

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress needs a deal by Thursday in order for it to be approved by the midterm elections.

NAFTA isn't the only urgent item on the administration's trade agenda. Yet those talks have stalled over differences between the US and Mexico.

Ryan's Thursday deadline isn't exactly binding.