U.S. Pursuing Aggressive Timeline for Wrapping Up Nafta Talks

  • Official talks with Mexico and Canada to begin this week
  • Trump has called Nafta a ‘disaster’ and threatened to withdraw

Canada Trade Minister Confident Going Into Nafta Talks

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The U.S. is heading into the first round of talks on an updated North American Free Trade Agreement with an aggressive timeline for completing talks with Mexico and Canada, a Trump administration official said.

U.S. negotiators will present their text this week that will be used to craft a proposed new agreement, an official with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Tuesday. The Trump administration is aiming for a high-standard, comprehensive new agreement, according to the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada begin official talks Wednesday on revamping the 23-year-old accord, which governs more than $1.2 trillion in annual trade. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said the U.S. wants to complete a deal by early January to avoid talks getting bogged down before a general election next year in Mexico and mid-term congressional elections in the U.S.

On Tuesday, the USTR official didn’t specify when the U.S. hopes to conclude negotiations.

President Donald Trump has called Nafta a “disaster,” and threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement if he’s not satisfied with the talks. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday that Canada won’t accept “just any deal.”

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