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New hope for NAFTA deal as high-level talks begin

Business | 2018-04-06 11:02:00
New hope for NAFTA deal as high-level talks begin
   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
The eighth round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations have been suspended and high-level ministerial representatives will meet instead to push for a deal, it was announced Thursday.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland left for Washington earlier in the day to meet with her American and Mexican counterparts.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he is optimistic that a deal can be reached sooner rather than later.

“We are happy to engage as much as they want, to move forward towards a deal,” Trudeau said, speaking to reporters in Quebec City. “I believe we are in a moment where we’re moving forward in a significant way.”

Freeland, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal along with their top negotiators will try to get an agreement-in-principle on NAFTA.

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he would like to announce a tentative agreement at the Summit of the Americas in Peru from April 13-14.

While it was never officially announced, the eighth round of negotiations were to have taken place April 8-18 in Washington. But a representative from Lighthizer’s office said high-level talks have been ongoing since the previous round of negotiations ended last month.

“The NAFTA countries have been negotiating continuously on ministerial and official levels since the last formal negotiating round ended in March,” said Emily Davis. “Officials are continuing to meet this week as the renegotiation of NAFTA moves forward.”

Optimism has bloomed since the Americans dropped a controversial demand that at least 50 percent of components of vehicles entering the U.S. for sale be made in America.

“Hopefully, there will be some good news coming, but we know (in) these negotiations there’s good moments and there’s slower moments,” Trudeau said. “But right now, we’re having a very productive moment of engaging with the United States and with Mexico.”
Anadolu Agency
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