Mexico minister says trying to get NAFTA deal as soon as possible

The Mexican peso is jumping on hope for NAFTA progress

For weeks, USA and Mexican negotiators have been working to iron out complex bilateral trade concerns while Canada awaits the results and the opportunity to return to the negotiating table. He also backed Trump's suggestion that an agreement is not far off.

The Mexico-U.S. discussions have focused on crafting new rules for the automotive industry, which U.S. President Donald Trump has put at the heart of his drive to rework the 24-year-old pact he says has been a "disaster" for American workers.

This agreement reached in 1994 was renegotiated more than a year ago under pressure of Trump, who called it "the worst trade deal in history" in his first presidential debate. Companies operating across North America have anxious that some of Trump's demands could hurt the region's economy.

There's optimism that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo could conclude their face-to-face negotiations as early as this week - and open the door for Canada to re-enter the talks. "We'll do everything possible to try to land a deal".

The work with Canada, which has sat out the latest phase of NAFTA talks, would take at least a week, though he was optimistic Mexico and the United States were close to agreement.

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He has cautioned that some of the hardest issues were still on the table, including the USA demand for a five-year "sunset clause", which would oblige the three countries to renew the pact regularly.

Among them, he mentioned the thorny "extinction clause" proposed by the US. "It was rather a technical issue on how to reflect Mexico's overhaul in the treaty", Carlos Véjar, a trade attorney at law firm Holland & Knight in Mexico City, told the Wall Street Journal.

It remains unclear how USA and Mexican negotiators would frame any announcement about the completion of work on their issues. Lighthizer and Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and adviser, declined to comment on Sunday afternoon.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Friday her government's return to the talks would depend on how quickly the United States and Mexico could resolve their differences.

The 64-year-old, who claims to bat above.300, said he wants to set up schools throughout Mexico to promote baseball in a country where soccer dominates.

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But Canadian officials, as well as officials from the USA and Mexico, have insisted the two-way NAFTA talks are necessary before the three-party negotiations can restart.

On Saturday, Seade told reporters that the nations have resolved concerns that the deal had too many restrictions on how the next government can treat foreign oil companies investing in Mexico.

US-Mexico relations are at their most strained in recent memory - and Mexico's newly elected president could ratchet up the acrimony.

The U.S. agreed to keep the 2.5% tariff now applied under World Trade Organization rules if the cars are made at factories that already exist, according to two people familiar with the plans, who asked not to be named discussing private negotiations. On Aug. 23, Mexican negotiators agreed that vehicles assembled at existing plants that do not meet new rule-of-origin percentages and wage requirements will be subject to a 2.5 percent tariff.

A contentious proposal by the United States - which would require the almost 25-year-old trade pact be reapproved every five years - is one that must include all three partners, Guajardo told reporters on his way in to yet another meeting.

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