WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mexico’s Economy Minister said on Friday that bilateral talks with the United States over the future of the NAFTA trade deal will drag into next week, and the timing of Canada’s return to the negotiations will depend on how fast they resolve issues.
Speaking as he left a meeting with the U.S. trade team in Washington, Ildefonso Guajardo said the return of Canada, the third country in the trillion dollar trade zone, would depend on solving bilateral elements in “the next few days or weeks.”
The issues the two countries are hammering out include what percentage of auto industry components need to be made in North America to avoid tariffs, and how many cars and trucks need to be made in factories paying higher wages.
The U.S.-Mexico talks for a reworked North American Free Trade Agreement resumed three weeks ago, without Canada, after negotiations involving all three members of one of the world’s largest trade blocs stalled in June.
Before he entered the meeting, Guajardo said Mexico was getting close to overcoming sticking points with the United States.
Asked if he could finish the U.S.-Mexico issues on Friday, Guajardo said “I don’t think today but we are very close.”
Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Phil Berlowitz and Nick Zieminski