NAFTA deal could come as early as this evening, sources say

Fredrick Soto
October 1, 2018

The U.S. -Mexico deal would increase to 75 percent from 62.5 percent the share of each vehicle that must be produced in the United States to qualify for duty-free treatment.

"Canada wants some assurances going forward that the president will not continue to use this, after we sign an agreement, to harass our industries simply because he's mad at our prime minister", the president of the Canadian Labour Congress told BNN Bloomberg television Thursday. "We don't like their representative very much", Trump said in an apparent reference to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland.

One of the sources said Canada would take nothing for granted until Trump had signed off on the deal.

At the same time, the United States and Canada continued to spar over the terms of Canada's possible inclusion in what was originally a three-country deal.

Relations between the two neighbors have been strained since Trump assailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him "weak" and "dishonest".

FILE PHOTO: A commercial truck with a Canada, United States and Mexico flag on its side is seen crossing over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Ontario from Detroit, Michigan U.S. August 29, 2018.

But the ensuing talks to incorporate Canada have stumbled.

Canada's Liberal government says it does not feel bound by the latest NAFTA deadline, and it repeated on Friday that it would not bow to USA pressure to sign a quick deal.

Tempers flared this week on both sides as the end-of-month deadline approached.

"Canada has a long way to go", Trump said on Wednesday.

Negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement are again at a critical point as the clock ticks down on Sunday night's USA deadline to file the text of a bilateral deal with Mexico.

'There is no fatal date, there is still time to reach a deal, ' he told a press conference earlier Friday.

The two nations are trying to find a way to update the North American Free Trade Agreement and prevent it from collapsing.

The government "is still having constructive discussions" with US counterparts, and "some" progress has been made, said one insider, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the talks.

Under U.S. trade law, an agreement must be published for 60 days before it can be signed by leaders of any of the participant countries, putting negotiators on the clock to reach a deal that can be signed by November 30, Pena Nieto's final day in office. Some Democrats said they could not support a NAFTA trade deal without Canada. As of Friday night, sources say that dispute has yet to be resolved.

Ujczo said the two sides have also largely settled on a dispute-resolution mechanism similar to that in the original NAFTA known as Chapter 19 - an issue that has always been a major stumbling block in the talks - and on a higher duty-free threshold for goods shipped into Canada: $100, up from $20.

The leftist president-elect reiterated his insistence that Mexico prefers to keep NAFTA 2.0 a three-country deal.

But he said he considered the substance of the US-Mexican deal to be final, and that Mexico did not want to renegotiate points that had already been agreed with Washington.

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