Having gone nowhere for the past year of Nafta negotiations, the Trump administration is said to be pushing for the U.S., Canada and Mexico to reach a Nafta deal in principle to be announced at the Summit of the Americas in Peru on April 13-14, Bloomberg reported citing three people familiar.
The US will host Nafta negotiators in Washington this week, where it hopes to achieve a breakthrough on significant remaining differences, Bloomberg said, adding that under the White House push, leaders of the three nations would be able to announce at regional summit that they’ve reached agreement on the broad outlines of an updated Nafta deal, while technical talks could continue to hammer out the finer details and legal text.
While it is unlikely that full deal will be penned, the meetings may make enough progress on issues including automotive rules of origin to host an eighth round of talks with the full negotiating teams in Washington next week.
Goal is also to advance as much as possible toward the Trump administration’s goal of an announcement in Peru
Still, disagreement persists and significant differences remain on issues ranging from automotive content to government procurement, and there is no assurance an agreement, even in principal, can be reached.
As part of the last minute blitz negotiations, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will travel to Washington for meetings with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Wednesday, while Trump’s adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray – who have been the lead people for managing the relationship between President Donald Trump and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto – will also meet in Washington this week.
Separately, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland will travel to Washington to meet with Lighthizer on Friday and may also meet with Mexico’s top Nafta negotiators at the same time. “Canada is committed to concluding a modern, mutually beneficial Nafta as soon as possible,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Freeland, while declining to comment on her meeting schedule.
In immediate response to the news, both the Mexian peso – which led EM FX losses for much of the day – and the Canadian loonie spiked, after a sharp move higher in the dollar during today’s equity selloff depressed the rest of G-10 FX.