Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was optimistic today that an agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Mexico and Canada could be reached “very soon” once the presidential elections have been held mexican
“We hope to have an agreement in principle, clearly, very soon,” Mnuchin said in an interview with CNBC. Mnuchin added that this is “the first priority” after the celebration of the Mexican presidential elections, in which Andrés Manuel López Obrador won, who will take office on December 1. “I think we are making a lot of progress,” he said without offering further details. “For his part, Foreign Trade Officer Robert Lighthizer, the US official in charge of the renegotiation of NAFTA, said today that the possibility of reaching a pact with Mexico and Canada in this respect is in its “final stages”.
“The NAFTA talks have advanced at an unprecedented speed, and hopefully we are in the final stages of reaching a compromise,” Lighthizer told a Senate subcommittee on Department of Commerce assignments today. Precisely today, the outgoing Mexican economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, will be in Washington to discuss the status of the NAFTA negotiations with Lighthizer. It is expected that Jesus Seade, future chief negotiator of NAFTA in the Lopez Obrador government, will also participate in talks with Lighthizer in Washington. This week, the future Mexican Minister of Economy of the Government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, Graciela Márquez, stressed that it is a “good time” to resume the modernization of NAFTA and that “there should be no such concern with free trade.”
The renegotiation of NAFTA, in force since 1994, began in August 2017 at the initiative of the president, Donald Trump, who has described the trade pact as a “disaster”. After successive rounds of negotiations, however, the three parties barely made minimal progress and differences remain open on key issues such as the automobile sector.