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US President Trump says in 'no rush' to get reworked NAFTA deal

19 August 2018

The Trump administration doesn't have the legal authority to sideswipe Canada and sign a bilateral trade deal with Mexico, Quebec's chief NAFTA negotiator said August 13.

"U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has expressed hope for a breakthrough in the coming days, .in efforts to rework NAFTA".

One of the major risks to the world economy is escalating trade disputes, the board of directors of Mexico's Central Bank said on Thursday.

Guajardo said on Wednesday that he had spoken with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on the telephone and was "hopeful" Canada could soon hold trilateral Nafta talks with the United States and Mexico.

China is unable to give us a deal that is acceptable.

Departing from earlier talks at Lighthizer's offices, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo suggested there was still work to be done before agreement could be reached.

The flags of Canada, Mexico and the USA are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico, March 2018.

The U.S.is hoping to remove Canada's dairy supply management system as part of the NAFTA talks. A major change sought by the White House is the manner in which NAFTA calculates the regional content of where a new auto or truck is manufactured. Lighthizer told the president he prefers to negotiate the trade deals one country at a time.

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Canada, meanwhile, has shown less urgency to complete a revision of the 24-year-old pact, but is expected to return to the bargaining table once the USA and Mexico settle their differences.

Guajardo has stressed that the most hard issues had been left to the end, including the USA demand that NAFTA be approved every five years, a provision known as a sunset clause.

USA congressional rules on trade require that there be a 90-day period between the administration's notification of a deal and the actual signing of an agreement.

At the Senate hearing, it was unclear how far-reaching a preliminary agreement with Mexico could be.

Trade negotiators have sounded optimistic in recent weeks.

Guajardo said the teams had not yet touched the issue of a U.S. proposed sunset clause that would kill Nafta after five years if it is not renegotiated again. Cars account for the biggest trade among the three countries, and Trump and other critics blame NAFTA for the USA trade deficit with Mexico and the loss of domestic manufacturing jobs.

Industry officials said on Thursday that the administration still has not agreed to remove the threat of "Section 232" tariffs on vehicles built at new plants nor specified whether passenger vehicles that do not comply with the rules would face a higher tariff than the current 2.5 percent.

US President Trump says in 'no rush' to get reworked NAFTA deal