Mexico's economy minister upbeat on NAFTA progress

Friday, August 10, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!

WASHINGTON, DC, United States (AFP) — US and Mexican negotiators have made progress in narrowing differences on the update of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said yesterday.

The steps to reach agreement could allow Canada to rejoin talks next week, he told reporters as he entered meetings for the second day with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

US and Mexican officials have said they aim to conclude discussions this month and it is the third-straight week ministers have travelled to Washington for meetings.

Teams worked through the night “changing the text” and “got a lot of work done”, Guajardo said.

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

“We are organising the items according to the degree of complexity and sunset clause is the very last,” he said.

Mexico has repeatedly said it is opposed to including such a clause.

The US and Mexican teams have spent a lot of time on issues involving the auto industry, and Guajardo said earlier this week they had reached an agreement on the US demands that a share of vehicle components with duty-free treatment come from countries with high wages.

A US Trade Representative spokeswoman declined to comment on the content of the discussions.

Asked if Canada would rejoin the NAFTA talks next week, Guajardo said, “Hopefully! We have to make sure that the US-Mexico bilaterals are done.”

But there is no specific date to return to trilateral discussions, he said.

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.

Talks are due to continue today and include Jesus Seade, economics adviser to Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

US President Donald Trump demanded NAFTA be renegotiated after repeatedly criticising the 24-year-old pact as a “terrible deal”, and officials now are rushing to conclude the talks before Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.

Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon