NAFTA Countries 'Nowhere Near Close to a Deal,'

A New NAFTA Deal Doesn't Seem Close, Despite Deadline

A New NAFTA Deal Doesn't Seem Close, Despite Deadline

Lighthizer's doubts dashed hopes for a quick resolution after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier on Thursday in NY expressed optimism about reaching an agreement soon, while noting that differences remain. The three countries have been negotiating for nine months to modernize Nafta, and midterm congressional elections in the USA and a Mexican presidential campaign this year have raised the urgency for a quick resolution. Trade Ministers aren't scheduled to meet again until the end of the month at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's annual ministerial in Paris "unless something happens before then", a source tells Politico.

Kind was one of about 35 members of Congress who met with the trade representative.

Lawmakers are facing a deadline on a new North American Free Trade Agreement, but as of Wednesday night, a deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico seemed out of reach.

The reason Canada, Mexico and some in the USA want a deal wrapped up has to do with creating certainty - in terms of business confidence, and in order to settle the process before elections in Mexico and the US stall progress until next year.

It is also possible that Democrats, whose legislators are generally more skeptical of trade, will take control of either or both of the House and Senate.

He does criticize the government for taking too long, in his opinion, to engage on the key issue of automobiles; the countries spent last fall scolding one another, before serious back-and-forth began in December and January.

Representative Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, also said that Lighthizer "indicated it is unlikely that an agreement would be reached by tomorrow".

Lighthizer's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Changes to the investor dispute settlement: NAFTA now contains an investor dispute settlement system, which allows investors from one NAFTA country the ability to lodge a complaint against the government of another nation and go to arbitration.

President Donald Trump is committed to getting a better agreement with Canada and Mexico, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.

"We're down to the point where a good deal is on the table", Trudeau said.

"An very bad lot of things would have to go right in order for this to be voted on in this Congress", said Eric Miller, a Washington-based trade adviser and Woodrow Wilson Center fellow. Quick work by the agency might add a week or two to the deadline, he said.

Recent negotiations between Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her counterparts have overwhelmingly focused on the complicated trade rules governing auto manufacturing.

But negotiators remain far apart on several key issues, involving domestic auto content, dispute resolution and whether to impose a "sunset clause" requiring periodic renewal of the treaty.

With attention focused on the contentious issues of cars, Trudeau said that Mexico had made proposals that "will go a long way towards reducing the trade deficit the US has with Mexico and indeed even bringing back some auto jobs from Mexico to the United States".

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