The U.S. and Mexico could reach an agreement regarding major issues relating to the North American Free Trade Agreement by Monday.
Mexico’s chief trade negotiator Ildefonso Guajardo along with the rest of Mexico’s trade delegation arrived at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative in Washington D.C. on Sunday afternoon after engaging in negotiations for the past five weeks.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Mexican delegation is prepared to do “whatever necessary” to reach an agreement that will allow Canada to rejoin the debate and reach an agreement with its southern neighbors. Guajardo indicated that the inclusion of Canada will require approximately another week of negotiations before agreements will be made. Mexico will not consider the issues resolved until Canada is also involved in the deal again.
Mexico and the United States are hashing out key factors in the deal, including the sale and production of cars. These discussions are being described as being “at an advanced stage.”
On Saturday, President Donald Trump tweeted that the “[U.S.] relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour,” adding that “a big trade agreement […] could be happening soon.”
Another concern in the agreement has been that of investor-state dispute settlement. The U.S. has claimed that the tribunal to which companies can bring their complaints of unfair treatment “erodes national sovereignty.” Despite this, many U.S. companies have pressured the administration not to force any change on that agreement, as their international investments are currently protected because of it. Both Mexico and Canada are also in favor of preserving those arrangements.
The U.S. proposed that the tribunal is only in place for certain industries while excluding others.
Guajardo is hopeful that a favorable agreement for all parties will be reached shortly, according to Bloomberg.
“The story of these types of things is always defined in the final minute, and I would say that we’re practically into the final hours of this negotiation. We’ll do everything possible to try to land a deal.”
The “sunset clause” – an automatic cancellation of all agreements after five years – has been a major demand from the U.S. administration, but Mexico believes it can agree to a renegotiated version of this. Guajardo hopes that the two countries will be able to meet regularly to debate amendments and changes to the agreement without having to nullify everything.
The U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Canada separately, but like Mexico would prefer to keep the current three-country deal.