Sources close to the U.S.-Mexico NAFTA talks say the two countries may very soon come to a mutual agreement and iron out differences which stopped them from reaching a deal until now.
According to these sources, negotiations have seen significant breakthroughs over the past few days on key issues such as automobiles, even though Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has said the country won’t make an announcement on NAFTA until Canada also signs on to a new deal, so it remains unclear whether any of the progress will be made public.
The White House said on Sunday that nothing had been finalized yet and added it had no announcements to make. However, President Donald Trump suggested in a tweet earlier that day that a “big Trade Agreement” could be made soon.
“Our relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour,” Trump tweeted. “Some really good people within both the new and old government, and all working closely together…A big Trade Agreement with Mexico could be happening soon!”
Although President Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s relationship has oftentimes been strained, their administrations have lately been working to resolve their differences on the North American Free Trade Agreement so that Canada can rejoin the negotiations and finalize the agreement before Mexico’s new president is inaugurated.
One of the most contentious issues has been the car manufacturing one as President Trump insists on a deal which would increase factory employment in the U.S. Last week, the United States agreed to keep the 2.5 percent tariff currently applied under World Trade Organization rules provided that the cars are made at pre-existing factories.
However, this means that 20-25 percent tariffs on automobiles made at new plants could be imposed.
Trump has further indicated he would like to negotiate with the two countries separately, but Mexico and Canada insist on keeping the three-nation trade deal.
“Our focus is unchanged. We’ll keep standing up for Canadian interests as we work toward a modernized trilateral NAFTA agreement,” Canada said on Friday.