Within the next 48 hours, the future of Canada in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA trade deal) would be clear, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Friday.
While presenting the Mexican Senate with the current US-Mexican agreement to update NAFTA trade deal that does not include Canada at the moment, Guajardo said Washington, Ottawa and Mexico City were making serious attempts to bridge their differences.
“In the coming 48 hours, we will learn if we go ahead with the text of the trilateral agreement or it would be necessary to introduce the text on the bilateral understanding [between Mexico and the United States] and to determine the legal actions required to ensure the possibility of switching to the trilateral framework after it,” Guajardo told Mexican lawmakers. He further added, “for the first time, we’re seeing a real effort by both sides.”
Donald Trump, President of the United States has been trying to renegotiate the United States’ trade agreements with multiple countries, since his 2016 election campaign. Canada, Mexico and the United States have been engaged in discussions around the NAFTA trade deal for more than a year now. This year in August, Trump said that Mexico and the United States had reached a two-way deal agreement after breaking away for bilateral talks on their outstanding issues.
On the other hand, Ottawa is seeking assurance that after signing the new NAFTA deal, US will not hit Canada with severe auto tariffs. As the end-of-month deadline approached, tempers flared at both (Canada and US) the sides.
The new NAFTA trade deal is expected to be revealed in the next few days. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, President of Mexico, said on Friday that he agreed to call the US authorities after speaking with Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada. Lopez Obrador also insisted that Mexico prefers to keep NAFTA a trilateral deal.
However, Lopez also said that he considers US-Mexico deal to be final and would not want any re-negotiations on the points that have already been agreed with Washington. “We don’t want to put our economic future and our country’s financial stability at risk,” he said.