Mexico and Canada insist on three-way NAFTA deal

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Canadian and Mexican officials insisted that the North American Free Trade Agreement remain a trilateral pact on Wednesday and reiterated their opposition to U.S. calls for a so-called 'sunset clause' that could end the deal after five years. After a meeting in Mexico City, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said they remained optimistic about the progress of the negotiations to revamp the 24-year-old trade pact.

Reuters July 26, 2018 00:09:23 IST
Mexico and Canada insist on three-way NAFTA deal

Mexico and Canada insist on threeway NAFTA deal

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Canadian and Mexican officials insisted that the North American Free Trade Agreement remain a trilateral pact on Wednesday and reiterated their opposition to U.S. calls for a so-called "sunset clause" that could end the deal after five years.

After a meeting in Mexico City, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said they remained optimistic about the progress of the negotiations to revamp the 24-year-old trade pact.

Negotiations began in August but stalled in the run-up to the Mexican presidential election. That was due, at least in part, to U.S. demands for sweeping changes in the auto sector and a for sunset clause, which would put the deal forming one of the world's largest trading blocs up for renewal every five years.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the pact if he cannot renegotiate it to better serve his country's interests.

Freeland and Guajardo struck an upbeat tone at a joint press conference, with Guajardo saying that about two-thirds of the agreement has been ironed out.

In Washington, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue raised the prospect on Wednesday that NAFTA could be negotiated separately with Canada and Mexico, in order to reach an agreement first with Mexico by September.

Although Mexican officials are heading to Washington this week to meet with their U.S. counterparts, Guajardo stressed that a deal between all three countries remained the goal.

"The fact that we are going to Washington to participate in bilateral talks is to reinforce the concept of the trilateralism of this agreement," he said. "The essence of this agreement is trilateral, and it will continue being trilateral."

Support for a three-way agreement was also voiced by Freeland, who noted she had spoken with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Monday.

In her comments, Freeland warned that the sunset clause could harm the auto industry and criticized a U.S. investigation into auto imports, saying the idea that Canadian products pose a security threat was "absurd and unacceptable."

Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who won the nation's July 1 election in a landslide, has said he wants to accelerate the negotiations. His lead NAFTA negotiator, Jesus Seade, will join the Mexican delegation in Washington this week.

"If there are conditions in the short term to find an agreement that is in the best interest of North America and of Mexico we will be, without a doubt, committed to achieving it," Guajardo said.

(Reporting by Noe Torres; Writing by Julia Love; editing by Tom Brown)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.