The North American Free Trade Agreement could be in for its first major overhaul since its inception in the 1990s, and the United States has signaled talks with Mexico are nearing completion.
Bloomberg reported Monday U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, “There’s a pretty good chance that we could be on a pretty rapid track with the Mexican talks.” Mexico has emerged as more willing to hash out details in a new trade agreement, according to various reports from the Trump administration. Canada, meanwhile, has apparently not jumped fully onboard.
President Trump himself signaled he may be in favor of two separate trade deals: a bilateral agreement between Mexico and one between Canada. Both Canadian and Mexican leadership have said they’re in favor of a trilateral NAFTA deal still.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Congress last week that August may be when we see a new NAFTA deal emerge after a year of deliberation between all three countries. NAFTA has major implications for each country’s auto industry and the United Auto Workers union blames the trade deal for job cuts and underutilized factories domestically.
Any new deal requires a three-month waiting period for the U.S. Congress; August’s preferred date would allow current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign the deal before leaving office, per his wishes. Mexico’s President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado, has also said he’s in favor of keeping NAFTA and has appointed a new trade team, according to Ross.