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Top Mexican official doesn't expect NAFTA talks to be done by deadline

Top Mexican official doesn't expect NAFTA talks to be done by deadline
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Mexico’s chief trade negotiator says he doesn’t think talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will end before a Thursday deadline, making it unlikely the current Congress will vote on a new agreement.

“The possibility of having the entire negotiation done by Thursday isn’t easy, we don’t think it will happen by Thursday,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told the Televisa network, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanSaudi mystery drives wedge between Trump, GOP GOP group makes late play in Iowa seat once seen as lost Adelsons donated M in September to help GOP in midterms MORE (R-Wis.) had set May 17 as the informal deadline to submit a NAFTA deal if the Trump administration wanted the current Congress to vote on a renegotiated agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

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Mexico had been pushing to secure at least the general terms of a deal before the Mexican presidential election on July 1.

Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland were in Washington, D.C., last week working on a deal with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade war MORE. Both returned to their countries on Friday with little to announce, the Journal reported.

One of the most contentious issues between the three nations was rules of origin for car makers, which dictate how much of a car must originate in either of the three nations to be able to be traded without tariffs, according to the newspaper.

Guajardo said he will continue in the negotiations but expressed discontent about the U.S. request for the agreement to be renewed every five years, the Journal reported.

He also noted that negotiations may continue after the Mexican elections in July and a transition team would have to then be included in the talks.

The current leading presidential candidate in Mexico, the progressive Andrés Manuel López Obrador, favors staying in NAFTA. He has also said he would respect any NAFTA agreements made before the election if he becomes president.