Speaker Ryan Eases on NAFTA Deadline as 3 Nations Express Optimism

Speaker Ryan Eases on NAFTA Deadline as 3 Nations Express Optimism

Canada's argument went that if the US claims to be reopening NAFTA specifically to deal with its trade deficit, and if the leading cause of that trade deficit with Mexico involves autos, and if the autos issue is nearly solved, then the Americans could walk away right now with a win.

"The NAFTA countries are nowhere near close to a deal", Lighthizer said in a statement. He cited big differences on intellectual property, agriculture, online purchases, energy, labour, rules of origin, and other issues.

Despite the pessimistic message, Lighthizer vowed to keep trying to reach a deal.

The electoral calendar is pressuring negotiators to wrap up a deal as soon as possible in both the USA and Mexico.

A Canadian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it will be up to Trump to decide whether he wanted a compromise deal now, or if he'd rather hold out for the hope of something better in the next Congress. The three cabinet-level officials have been leading the talks. 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.

Without a deal on the table, action likely shifts to the next Congress.

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance to approve it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January.

"Will there be a deal?"

"The point is, we can't work a bill unless we have an agreement that's in writing that we can work on, and that hasn't occurred yet", Ryan said.

Even if negotiations get back on track, there could be more setbacks.

Earlier in the day, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, told reporters that the three nations were edging closer to a deal.

"To put it in a frame that maybe someone who. did a lot of real estate deals might understand", he said.

"I'm confident in saying that we have found a proposal that is broadly acceptable to the three partners and our industries on the auto side of things", he said. Ardently opposed to this, Canada and Mexico have offered an olive branch in the form of a mooted provision to review the agreement every five years with a view to updating it where necessary.

Notwithstanding this, major sticking points remain - among the most prominent of which is the United States proposal for a five-year sunset clause whereby the renegotiated agreement would automatically terminate unless all three countries explicitly agree to renew it.

His remarks echoed those made by Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

He was likely referring to the auto agreement, which could cause job losses in his country.

"He was not optimistic this was all going to get wrapped up in the next 24 hours, to be sure", said Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, the chairman emeritus of the New Democrat Coalition, referring to Lighthizer.

"I would not rule out the possibility of reaching (a deal) at any moment from the last week in May, or as long as it takes", Guajardo told journalists.

Related Articles