NAFTA Deal Won't Be Reached By Informal Deadline, According to Mexico

House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that under timetables imposed by a 2015 law, the three countries need to complete a deal by Thursday if Congress is to pass a new treaty before the November midterm elections.

Under the US "fast track" trade negotiation law, there are lengthy notification periods before Congress could start considering a new NAFTA, precipitating the establishment of this Thursday's deadline.

"They have failed to reach an agreement, and the divisions are fairly fundamental, so I'm not certain that even if Ryan comes back and says, 'I didn't really mean it, there's wiggle room, ' that it's going to make a difference", Alden said.

The negotiations began in August, after U.S. President Donald Trump took office.

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

Leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has opened up such a wide lead ahead of July 1's Mexican presidential vote that his coattails could give his party a working congressional majority as well, according to a new polling analysis released this week.

"We will keep negotiating, and in the moment that we have a good negotiation, we can close the deal and it will be notified, independent of which Congress [the current or new] that will vote on it", he said.

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.

That's the view of Mexico's economy minister.

Guajardo said it was not yet clear when the ministers from Mexico, Canada and the United States responsible for negotiating NAFTA would meet again.

However, the trio may be closer to agreeing on automotive rules of origin that place caps on the amount of foreign-made parts allowed in vehicles manufactured in North America, said Guajardo. "The problem is there needs to be flexibility from the parties", Guajardo said.

Among the issues the three sides have yet to agree on is a US proposal to include a so-called sunset clause that would allow the deal to automatically expire every five years, pending renewal.

Irrespective of the May 17 date mentioned by Ryan, there was still time to ratify a new NAFTA this year, Smith added.

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

If a NAFTA deal is not reached before the election, Mexico's negotiators will work closely with the incoming government's transition team, Smith told Mexican radio.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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