Mexico doubts that a NAFTA deal is possible by Thursday target date

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

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that none of the contentious issues in a new NAFTA trade deal appear to have been resolved, diminishing chances of meeting a Thursday deadline to notify U.S. lawmakers of an agreement. "That's where we are seeking solutions that will lend certainty to what we are negotiating", he said.

Guajardo says the USA needs to show some flexibility on key NAFTA proposals, and he doesn't see it happening by Thursday.

A push to conclude a deal by the end of the week came yesterday in the form of a telephone conversation between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Donald Trump.

Ryan himself told reporters at the U.S. Capitol that Congress can not begin working on the negotiating law known as "fast track" without a trade deal in hand.

Negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been in intense talks since last month to try to reach a deal before US congressional elections in November.

Mexico's peso sank to its weakest level in over a year on Tuesday, and the country's benchmark stock index fell about 1 percent to its lowest since early April.

"However, I would not rule out at any point, if the participants show the willingness, that we can settle this negotiation at any moment from the close of May onwards, or in June", the minister told Mexican radio.

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

However, if that doesn't happen, Graciela Márquez said, it would be preferable to complete the negotiations after the new president is sworn in in December. Trump campaigned on a platform to strengthen US industry and employment, in part by renegotiating the 1994 trade agreement.

The United States is still pushing for a deal to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said on Wednesday, while a top Mexican official held out the possibility of an agreement in the coming weeks.

Mexico's economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo reiterated that Thursday was not a feasible deadline.

Hanging over the talks is Trump's threat to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on its trade partners.

Ross, who is not directly involved in the negotiations, alluded to the idea that talks could still be in progress on June 1, when a US steel and aluminum tariff exemption for Canada and Mexico expires.

Smith said his government would retaliate with equivalent measures "immediately" if tariffs or quotas were imposed.

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