Trade deal possible with Canada, minus Mexico

USA Trump und Trudeau im Weißen Haus | NAFTA

"Thus far, we have made good progress, and I look forward to several days of hard work", Lighthizer said in the statement Wednesday. This week the influential US Chamber of Commerce warned it was time to "ring alarm bells" over the NAFTA talks.

The prime minister arrives in Mexico looking for a friendly ear in President Enrique Pena Nieto, himself no stranger to hostility from the Trump administration, who will receive Trudeau at the presidential palace with military honors.

"There's a path to be optimistic here and, you know, maybe he'll come around", Morneau said, an apparent reference to Trump.

"I think it's been clear that circumstances are often challenging, and we have to be ready for anything — and we are", Trudeau said.

"Withdrawing from or weakening trade agreements like NAFTA would only benefit our competitors in Europe and Asia, including China", Bolten said.

His tour of Canada's partners in the North American Free Trade Agreement comes as negotiators from the three countries meet in the United States for their latest round of what Trump vowed would be "tough" talks on a new version of NAFTA.

Prime Minister Trudeau also met with United States President Donald J. Trump.

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Trudeau told reporters in Washington DC that he agreed with the USA president that that the NAFTA trade deal needed to be revamped and that any new agreement needed to "give citizens opportunities to succeed".

Trade experts say the NAFTA talks are likely to stall in the face of aggressive USA attempts to sharply increase content requirements for autos and auto parts. But Mexican leaders have also warned that talks must conclude early next year before their presidential election campaign gets underway. Those "could doom the entire deal", Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's CEO said October 11.

In an e-mail, Mr Curtis S. Chin, a former USA ambassador to the Asian Development Bank and a senior fellow with the Milken Institute, a non-partisan economic think-tank, wrote: "With Nafta now more than 20 years old, it could well use some revisiting and updating". Under the USA proposal, America would require more to be made in the country and less sourced from other members of the block.

On automotive rules of origin, NAFTA negotiators face tough new US demands to increase regional vehicle content to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, with 50 percent required from the United States, according to people briefed on the plan.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue, speaking in Mexico City on Tuesday, pledged to fight "like hell" to defend Nafta if Trump tries to pull out. "Any trade proposal that makes multinational corporations nervous is a good sign that it's moving in the right direction for workers".

The Chamber and the trade group for Mexico's auto industry already have come out against an anticipated proposal to raise US -specific content.

On Thursday, the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) said proposed changes to NAFTA would likely increase the cost of vehicles. "We have always understood that draining the swamp would be controversial in Washington".

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