Lighthizer, Mexican minister say August NAFTA deal possible
Trade Representative Robert lighthizer said Thursday that an agreement in principle on the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations could be reached next month.
Lighthizer made the statement at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the budget for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for fiscal 2019.
Later in the day, Politico reported that Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo also said it is possible the deal can be done in August. Guajardo made the statement as he was entering a meeting with Lighthizer.
Washington Trade Daily noted that Lighthizer said a deal with Mexico might prompt Canada to come to the table prepared to compromise. So far, Canada has been less willing to compromise, but both Canadian and Mexican officials have said they are not interested in a bilateral deal.
Trade Promotion Authority requires a 90-day window between the time an agreement is announced and the time it can be formally signed. That means a deal would have to be reach by the end of August in order for Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to sign it before he leaves office on Dec. 1, WTD noted.