U.S., Mexico and Canada hasten NAFTA talks as elections Loom-Pena Nieto

  • Sunday 15, April 2018 in 9:21 AM
Sharjah24 – Reuters: The United States, Mexico and Canada will expedite NAFTA talks in a push to reach a deal in coming weeks, Mexico's president said on Saturday after a meeting with the U.S. vice president and Canadian prime minister.
On the sidelines of the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said they thought an agreement could be reached before Mexican elections on July 1, although they also said no deadlines had been set.
 
"We agreed to keep up work towards reaching a deal and to summon our special negotiating teams to accelerate their efforts," Pena Nieto told reporters after meeting Pence.
 
"It was the same thing I agreed to with Prime Minister Trudeau," Pena Nieto added. "We hope in coming weeks we can reach an agreement."
 
The three countries, which created the world's largest free trade region by forming the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the 1990s, are under pressure to renegotiate the deal before Mexicans elect a new president in July.
 
There are concerns U.S.-Mexico relations could get rockier with Pena Nieto, a centrist, unable to seek a second six-year term due to Mexico's term limits.
 
U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to kill NAFTA if it is not changed to secure better terms for U.S. workers and companies. In Mexico, leftist presidential frontrunner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to cut the country's economic dependence on foreign powers and to put Trump "in his place."
 
With U.S. mid-term congressional elections also pending in November, Trudeau said Canada would defer to Mexico and the United States on a timeline.
 
"Of course, we'd like to see a re-negotiated deal land sooner than later," Trudeau said in a press conference, citing Mexican and U.S. elections as a factor in timing. "We have a certain amount of pressure to try to move forward successfully in the coming weeks."