Mexico's top trade negotiator said Tuesday that he doesn't believe an agreement between his country, the US and Canada will be reached by Thursday's informal deadline.
Reaching an updated NAFTA deal before Thursday's deadline is looking unlikely, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said today.
The United States is pushing for a deal in negotiations on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the White House said on Wednesday, but Canadian and Mexican officials were not due in Washington for talks before a Thursday deadline.
NAFTA trade ministers failed in intensive talks last week to reach consensus on the all-important auto content rules, agreeing instead to resume negotiations soon.
Smith said the administration of President Enrique Pena Nieto had a responsibility to continue negotiating until Mexico's new president, who will be elected on July 1, takes office on December 1.
"We will keep negotiating, and in the moment that we have a good negotiation, we can close the deal. independent of which Congress (the current or new) that will vote on it", said Guajardo.
Leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is leading polls to win the Mexican presidential race.
Guajardo says the US needs to show some flexibility on key NAFTA proposals, and he doesn't see it happening by Thursday.
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. His pick for economy minister, Graciela Marquez, has said his administration would be willing to accept a deal struck before the election. "The problem is there needs to be flexibility from the parties", Guajardo said.
However, U.S. demands for a so-called sunset clause that would see NAFTA automatically expire if the agreement is not renegotiated every five years as well as the elimination of settlement panels for trade disputes remain sticking points.
President Donald Trump is committed to getting a better agreement with Canada and Mexico, press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News.
"Mexico's position since the start of the negotiation has been that we're not going to sacrifice the quality of the deal to conclude quickly", he said, although he added that there is still time to reach a conclusion before the end of the year.
Kenneth Smith, the chief Mexican negotiator at the talks, said that for Mexico there were no deadlines in the revamp.