Jesus Seade, the top Mexican official responsible for the negotiation of the free trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico and Canada (known as USMCA) was confident today after his meeting with the U.S. representative for Foreign Trade, Robert Lighthizer, in achieving this goal.
“We are coming to understandings, I have to look at things carefully, but we are coming to more specific issues. But I feel that we are moving toward an agreement,” said the undersecretary for North America of the Mexican Foreign Ministry.
Seade stressed that, in the negotiation, they are already talking about “concrete things” and said that “everything seems to be going in the right direction”.
In addition, he celebrated that all the issues that “took the dream out of him are out of the table”. “It’s time we reached an agreement,” he said.
On the other hand, he said he is planning to go to Canada this week to continue working on achieving the trade agreement.
After more than a year of negotiations, the governments of Mexico, the United States and Canada concluded on 30 November 2018 the negotiation of the USMCA, which should replace the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which entered into force in 1994.
Mexico has already ratified the pact, while in the case of Canada, which recently held its presidential elections, the agreement is expected to be approved soon.
President Donald Trump and business groups have lobbied Congress to move forward with the USMCA to reduce trade uncertainty, while several U.S. trade union associations have demanded strengthened guarantees of enforcement of environmental and labor standards.
Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat, doubted today that Congress could be ratified before the end of 2019.
“I’m not sure that, even if we reached an agreement today, there would be enough time to close it (in 2019),” Pelosi said at a Capitol press conference.