Mexico's economy minister said that he saw diminishing chances for a new North American Free Trade Agreement ahead of a Thursday deadline to present a deal that could be signed by the current U.S. Congress.
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that the Republican-controlled Congress would need to be notified of a new NAFTA deal by Thursday to give lawmakers a chance of approving it before a newly elected Congress takes over in January.
“It is not easy. We do not think we will have it by Thursday,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told broadcaster Televisa on Tuesday.
But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau struck a more upbeat tone, telling reporters in Calgary a few hours later, “There is very much an eminently achievable outcome ... and we are very close.”
“We are going to continue to remain optimistic,” said Trudeau. He met with U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday and discussed the possibility of bringing NAFTA talks to a “prompt conclusion.”
Negotiators from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been in intense talks since last month to try to reach a deal before U.S. congressional elections in November. Mexico’s presidential vote on July 1 also complicates the process.
Source: VOA news