Mexico’s economy minister upbeat on NAFTA progress

Mexico’s economy minister upbeat on NAFTA progress

US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after signing a proclamation declaring his intention to withdraw from the JCPOA Iran nuclear agreement in the Diplomatic Room at the White House in Washington, U.S. May 8, 2018.

In a tweet that appeared to reference NAFTA's renegotiation, the US president said the "deal with Mexico is coming along nicely" and that "Canada must wait".

"Will tax cars if we can't make a deal!" the president said.

"We're leading to a negotiating environment that's not going to allow parties to make concessions", he said.

Two American sources who have received briefings on the talks - but are not authorized to talk about what they know on the record - confirmed Thursday there seems to be progress on key American demands about what goes into cars that enter the USA duty free under NAFTA. The one-on-one talks are expected to extend into next week.

Meanwhile, the US-Mexico NAFTA talks resumed last month but without Canada after negotiations involving all three members of one of the worlds largest trading blocs stalled in June.

Trump has often threatened to withdraw from the three-way pact unless US -proposed changes to the existing terms are accepted.

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But Canadian officials have insisted Ottawa hasn't been sidelined during the U.S. -Mexico discussions, arguing there have been lots of bilateral talks between NAFTA partners during the year-long renegotiation process. Current sessions have mostly focused on resolving U.S.

Trump said that Canada has to wait, citing too-high tariffs and trade barriers. He has also made repeated threats to apply far more damaging tariffs on the deeply integrated automotive sector.

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has earlier talked of a "new relationship" with the United States.

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

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

Teams worked through the night "changing the text" and "got a lot of work done", Guajardo said. On his way out of the meeting, reports said Guajardo indicated the two sides have made progress and will meet again next week to continue their talks for a fourth straight week.

Mexico is also prepared to agree to USA demands that 70 per cent of all steel, aluminium and glass used in vehicles and electronics come from North America, as well as rules that would reduce the amount of non-North American content in textiles, sources said.

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