Mexico’s economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters Friday that he believes trade talks will conclude as early as next week.
“Hopefully we will be able to close up no later than the middle of the week,” he said.
The Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, was equally optimistic that a trade deal could come soon.
“I think that we’re very, very close to a deal with Mexico,” Hassett told Fox Business News
Guajardo said that the few remaining issues, mainly involving autos, are close to resolution, but Canada could be a fly in the ointment.
“It would be a very big thing if the U.S. and Mexico have settled their issues,” Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch director Lori Wallach said. “But there is no final NAFTA deal unless Canada, in the few remaining days, agrees to rejoin the process and also comes to an agreement.”
The negotiations are about the recrafting of NAFTA in a way more favorable to all parties. NAFTA is a three-way agreement that includes Canada and without the U.S.’s northern neighbor’s agreement, NAFTA could end up sidelined – permanently. Mexico wants to finalize a deal before President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office on Dec. 1 and his less trade-friendly replacement takes over. Any delays by Canada could ruin the agreements between Mexico and the U.S. and perhaps force a bilateral agreement between the two trading partners.
The next meeting between Mexican and American officials is scheduled for Tuesday and Canada could enter negotiations shortly after U.S. – Mexico terms are finalized.