NAFTA countries 'nowhere near' a deal
NAFTA countries 'nowhere near' a deal. "The NAFTA countries are nowhere near close to a deal," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer declared, pointing to "gaping differences" on issues like intellectual property, agricultural access, labor and energy.
It comes as House Speaker Paul Ryan said there could still be a few weeks of "wiggle room" for a deal to be considered by the current Congress, but stressed even that seemed uncertain. Read more here.
The Mexican peso and Canadian dollar weakened following Lighthizer’s comments. The three countries have been negotiating for nine months to modernize Nafta, and midterm congressional elections in the U.S. and a Mexican presidential campaign this year have raised the urgency for a quick resolution. Trump has threatened to withdraw from the pact if he can’t rework it to shrink America’s trade deficit and boost manufacturing jobs.
Lighthizer’s doubts dashed hopes for a quick resolution after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier on Thursday in New York expressed optimism about reaching an agreement soon, while noting that differences remain. U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier in the day there could be a week or two left to reach a deal that American lawmakers could support this year.