Canada's Justin Trudeau: 'NAFTA Negotiations Close to an End'


Canada‘s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there’s a strong chance of reaching a deal with the United States and Mexico to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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"We have a high chance of reaching a win-win-win deal for Canada, the United States and Mexico," Trudeau told reporters on Thursday.

"With the pressures of the elections in Mexico and the U.S. elections, if we could announce something at the Summit of the Americas, that would be great," he said, in reference to the April 13-14 gathering of regional leaders in Peru.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland headed to Washington to meet with her counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. On Wednesday, Lighthizer met with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo to try to reach an agreement in principle on NAFTA.

The trio is getting together for a working dinner Thursday evening, according to public broadcaster CBC, and will hold formal talks on Friday.

Several stumbling blocks remain, particularly Washington’s proposals on rules of origin for auto manufacturing, a "sunset clause" for the agreement and a dispute resolution mechanism.

"I believe we’re in a moment where we’re moving forward in a significant way; hopefully, there will be some good news coming," Trudeau said.

"We know these negotiations: there are good moments and there are slower moments, but right now we’re having a very productive moment of engaging with the United States and Mexico."

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is pressing for a deal before Mexican presidential elections take place on July 1. 

The 1994 trade deal turned Mexico into a major exporter by giving it duty-free access to the United States, the destination for about 80 percent of its exports.


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