US, Mexican negotiators set for more NAFTA talks

The United States and Mexico have reached a trade deal that would replace NAFTA which Trump says is very special for USA manufacturers and farmers. But Trump and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Monday that they plan to send a Mexico-U.S. deal to Congress by Friday to start the clock on the waiting period.

President Donald Trump made the announcement on Monday from the White House. "We're going to call it the US-Mexico Trade Agreement".

Both the U.S. president and the Mexican president, Enrique Peña Nieto, said they had an understanding and thanked each other during a phone call listened into by reporters. Functionally, that likely means more auto parts will be built and assembled in the U.S. But it could also raise wages or add more higher-paying positions in Mexico, too.

"I desire, I wish that the part with Canada will be materializing in a very concrete fashion, and we can have an agreement the way we proposed it from the initiation of this renegotiating process, a tripartite", Peña-Nieto said through a translator.

One of the leading oil lobbyists said it is "encouraged" by news that the Trump administration has reached an agreement with Mexico to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). But Canadian officials say their country, which has already been hit by Trump's tariffs and retaliated against them, won't join any deal that hurts their workers and businesses.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is due to arrive in Washington D.C. Tuesday, and described the news as "encouraging" in a statement.

He also said he wanted to get rid of the name Nafta, which he said has "bad connotations".

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On autos, for instance, Canada told the U.S.in the spring that it was willing to agree to what the Americans want. Other key issues are Chapter 19 anti-dumping panels, which the US wants to kill but which may be a deal-breaker for Canada, as well as Canada's dairy sector, which Trump is targeting.

Trump says he will be calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Republican lawmaker Kevin Brady, chairman of the tax and trade-focused Ways and Means Committee, called on Canada to return to talks quickly "with the aim of concluding a modern, seamless three-way agreement".

The president indicated his administration and Mexican officials will try to sell their Canadian counterparts on the details, but left open the door to one-on-one deals with both countries. But Trump has called the agreement "the worst deal maybe ever signed" and moved ahead with tariffs earlier this year. His strategy: to split negotiations between Mexico and Canada.

Stocks are rising broadly as the US and Mexico prepare to announce the details of the new trade agreement.

Talks to update NAFTA began a year ago, but in recent weeks have been held between just the US and Mexico.

And they have not come to an agreement over the "sunset clause" the U.S.is demanding, which would automatically terminate NAFTA in five years if the three countries did not all endorse the deal again at that time.

  • Darren Santiago