President Donald Trump said the U.S. may be on the verge of a "big trade agreement" with Mexico as the Nafta representative of that nation's president-elect signaled that the thorny issue of rules for the energy industry seems to be resolved.
Before that meeting, Guajardo had said that a final NAFTA agreement will happen only when Canada rejoins the talks and the three nations resolve all of their issues. Asked about issues between the ingoing and outgoing governments on the energy chapter, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said: "We are working as one team, a team called Mexico, and we have to make sure that everybody feels comfortable with this agreement".
Mexico's negotiating team has been in close contact with the private sector during the past year of NAFTA talks.
Industry sources believe that they are close to agreeing on raising the regional automotive content threshold for tariff-free access under NAFTA to around 75 percent from 62.5 percent.
Seade said Thursday that he thinks it should be possible for Canada to return to negotiations in Washington next week even if the US and Mexico need to continue to work on their bilateral differences at the same time.
"Updating the "rules of origin" has always been a very big, important and complicated effort", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters.
For weeks, US and Mexican negotiators have been working to iron out complex bilateral trade concerns while Canada awaits the results and the opportunity to return to the negotiating table. He believes the White House will want to lock down a deal soon to ensure it's completed before the incoming Mexican government takes office on December 1. It was meant by the Trump administration as a mechanism to force a renegotiation of NAFTA every five years if the new terms failed to foster more balanced trade between the three countries.
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Among them, he mentioned the thorny "extinction clause" proposed by the US. It's no longer what the United States was putting first in any way", Seade said of the sunset clause outside the U.S. Trade Representative's office.
"For some time now, he (Trump) has been very prudent in referring to Mexicans, or he hasn't said offensive things", Lopez Obrador said.
While a US proposal to increase tariffs on cars imported from Mexico that don't meet stricter new content rules was a sticking point earlier this week, that issue appeared to be resolved by Thursday.
The negotiations "are well advanced", he told reporters, but "we are not there yet".
FILE - In this August 9, 2018 file photo, Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks to reporters after meeting with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the National Palace in Mexico City.
The trilateral treaty has been a key target in Trump's aggressive trade strategy, and he has repeatedly threatened to scrap it altogether, branding it a "disaster".
Lopez Obrador, a leftist populist who was elected in a landslide on July 1, said Friday that the NAFTA talks were proceeding well.