US, Mexico ‘hours away’ of new deal on automotive trade
U.S. and Mexican officials are “hours away” of reaching a bilateral agreement on pending issues concerning the renegotiation of NAFTA, said Mexico’s Economy Minister on Sunday. However, talks are likely to stretch into September once Canada rejoins the bargain table starting this week in order to get a trilateral deal.
Industry sources revealed to Reuters that both countries are close to agreeing on raising the regional automotive content threshold for tariff-free access under NAFTA to around 75% from 62.5%.
“The two sides have been gradually nearing a common position, and one source close to the negotiations said at the weekend there was now ‘little’ separating the two on autos,” says the report.
Meanwhile, Canada’s foreign affairs minister said she’s “very encouraged” by signals from Washington that the United States and Mexico are close to figuring out their bilateral issues within the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement.
Chrystia Freeland said to Canadian Press that she’s been in close contact — including this week — with her US and Mexican counterparts throughout their two-way NAFTA talks, which are now in their fifth week. The issue of rules of origin on autos has been central to the summertime US-Mexico discussions, she added.
“We are very encouraged by what we’re hearing from our NAFTA partners,” Freeland told reporters. “What we’ve agreed with the US and Mexico is, once the work on those bilateral issues is done, then Canada is looking forward to joining the negotiation and a swift conclusion of the NAFTA negotiations.”