Negotiators from Mexico, the U.S., and Canada are still pushing hard to get a “comprehensive” new North American Free Trade Agreement in place. Politico says negotiators from the three NAFTA countries have been meeting regularly in recent weeks, hoping for breakthroughs on some of the toughest issues yet to deal with.
Those remaining issues include auto rules of origin, labor, and dispute settlement mechanisms. “We are certainly in a more intense period of the negotiations and are making good progress,” says Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer appeared confident in recent meetings with administration officials and Congress that he will be able to reach a preliminary NAFTA agreement in the next couple of weeks. The goal would then be to have a preliminary agreement in place by May fourth.
U.S. officials have set a goal of Congressional approval before the lawmakers head home for the December holidays on December 13. Mexico’s own legislative session ends on August 31 and any renegotiated deal would have to be passed before then.