'Nowhere near close:' U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal
'Nowhere near close:' U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal
Nafta Deadline Arrives With Little Prospect for an Agreement
18 May, 2018, 13:48
The talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have been hung up on USA demands to increase American content in cars that receive duty free treatment in the trade bloc, and to have a sunset provision, which would require the three governments to renew the treaty after five years.
Trudeau said the three countries have not signed off on a new agreement because of one significant sticking point: the Americans' demand for a sunset clause that would allow the deal to automatically expire every five years, pending renewal.
During the past several weeks, top trade officials from all three countries have regularly met in Washington to work through some of those tougher issues.
Ryan himself told reporters at the U.S. Capitol that Congress can not begin working on the negotiating law known as "fast track" without a trade deal in hand.
Without a deal on the table, action likely shifts to the next Congress.
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House Speaker Paul Ryan said again this week that the administration would need to notify Congress this week if it wants the current Congress to vote on the deal by the end of the year under the so-called fast-track legislation. "I don't know", Ryan said. Even if the auto issues were to be resolved, negotiators would then have to address a variety of other matters on which there remain big disagreements.
Earlier in the day, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, told reporters that the three nations were edging closer to a deal.
"We are close to a deal", the prime minister said in NY.
Mexican officials - including the economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, who is leading the Nafta talks - have insisted that the negotiations be confined to the content of the agreement itself, and not include immigration.
The reason Canada, Mexico and some in the USA want a deal wrapped up has to do with creating certainty - in terms of business confidence, and in order to settle the process before elections in Mexico and the US stall progress until next year.
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Likewise, November's mid-term legislative elections are also bearing down in the United States, leaving lawmakers in the majority Republican party with little bandwidth to absorb a deal as they fight to hold on to power.
He was likely referring to the auto agreement, which could cause job losses in his country.
"We will keep negotiating, and in the moment that we have a good negotiation, we can close the deal. independent of which Congress (the current or new) that will vote on it", he said on Televisa.
"He was not optimistic this was all going to get wrapped up in the next 24 hours, to be sure", said Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, the chairman emeritus of the New Democrat Coalition, referring to Lighthizer.
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They have both vowed to scrap an unpopular pension reform - a move that would punch a 15-billion-euro hole in state coffers. Each party plans to consult its supporters over the weekend to see if they back the nascent government pact.
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