U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal as pressure turns to Canada

U.S. and Mexico make NAFTA breakthrough, increasing chances of final deal

President Trump announced a tentative trade deal Monday with Mexico to replace the three-way North American Free Trade Agreement, which he called a big win for US workers and his get-tough trade agenda.

During a press conference via speaker phone in the oval office with Mexico's president, the president said it will be called the United States-Mexico Trade Agreement. Those are the words of Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo last week as he summarized the progress of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was patched in by phone, calling the deal "very positive" for both the USA and Mexico. Interestingly, Trump says that they will get rid of the name, NAFTA, once all details of the deal have been ironed out.

USA expects talks with Canada on trade to accelerate on Monday and wrap up by the end of the week - u.S.

Despite Trump's signal that the deal could lead to a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Mexico, Peña Nieto, through a translator, expressed his "desire that now Canada will also be able to be incorporated in this". However, while the US and Mexico have reached tentative agreement, they're working under a tight deadline, hoping to have things finalized before Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador is sworn in on December 1.

Some experts interpreted the administration's signaling about a possible bilateral deal as an attempt to pressure Canada into a swift agreement on revising NAFTA, which the U.S. administration denied. The U.S. and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement to revise key portions of the arrangement, the New York Times reports, leaving out Canada altogether for now. They also settled on a lower requirement of 40 percent to 45 percent for vehicles made by employees earning at least $16 an hour, about twice the average auto wage in Mexico.

Still, Trump, who on Saturday had suggested that an agreement could be imminent, tweeted on Monday morning: "A big deal looking good with Mexico!".

Trump strongly campaigned on the issue of repealing or completely redoing NAFTA, a trade deal he argues was "terrible" for the United States and destroyed manufacturing in states across the country. Trump's chief agricultural negotiator, Gregg Doud, said talks with Canada have been "really, really hard".

The NAFTA talks have dragged on for a year.

Prior to Trump's remarks, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said through a spokesman that "Canada is encouraged by the continued optimism shown by our negotiating partners".

Trump says that on Friday, the Mexican deal will go to the lawmakers. Federal elections in Mexico and the United States are leading officials in both countries to rush a new trade deal.

How quickly Canada will rejoin talks remains unclear.

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