After a year of deliberation, the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement may be revamped. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress August may be the month we see a final agreement, Automotive News reported on Thursday.
The timeframe would also ensure current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto would sign the agreement before he leaves office this December. U.S. law requires three months before all involved parties sign off. If negotiations push past September, Mexico’s President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado would have to sign the agreement. Mexico’s objective is to have its current president ink the deal.
Lighthizer said the U.S. and Mexico have reached a good point in negotiations, but Canada remains uncertain.
“My hope is that we will before very long have a conclusion with respect to Mexico and that, as a result of that, Canada will come in and begin to compromise,” he said. “I don’t believe that they’ve compromised in the same way the United States has or Mexico has.”
The comments follow news that President Trump may look into a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico and focus on Canada at a later point in time.
NAFTA has major implications for automakers doing business in North America and the threat of tariffs across trade borders has the power to derail operations as they stand. Automakers, including General Motors, have supported the idea of “modernizing” NAFTA.