ibusinesslines.com October 20, 2018

Mexico’s economy minister upbeat on NAFTA progress

13 August 2018, 06:19 | Kelvin Horton

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Canada would have to wait on a trade deal due to "tariffs and trade barriers" but the U.S.is making progress with Mexico, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday night.

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".

But he reiterated his threat that tariffs on auto imports could be in store for the United States neighbor to the north: "Canada must wait".

Trump took a different tact, however, with Canada.

But the thornier issues are being left to the end, including the U.S. demand that NAFTA be approved every five years, a provision known as a sunset clause.

Administration officials and congressional aides have said the auto tariff probe, like the metals tariffs, in part is aimed at winning concessions during ongoing NAFTA renegotiation talks.

"New President of Mexico has been an absolute gentleman", he said, referring to leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, set to take over later this year. "Will tax cars if can't make a deal!"

However, he acknowledged: "We still have a lot of work to do".

Earlier Friday, U.S. officials met Mexican counterparts in Washington to resolve.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who accompanied Guajardo, spoke to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday and "discussed the importance of concluding a NAFTA agreement", according to a statement from the State Department.

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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