Saturday, 24 August 2019

US presses ahead with Mexico trade pact

WASHINGTON: The United States is pressing ahead with a free trade pact with Mexico, but whether Canada will join depends on a new round of talks next week, after negotiations ended Friday without an agreement.

Officials had appeared to be on track to reach a deal that would rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, but in a bizarre twist, inflammatory comments from President Donald Trump angered Canadian officials and threatened to upend the talks.

The US and Mexico announced a breakthrough accord on Monday, potentially leaving Canada out in the cold if no deal is reached, but Ottawa’s foreign minister insisted that a “win-win-win” agreement is within reach.

US and Canadian officials said talks will resume on Wednesday, but the White House already notified Congress Friday of its “intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico — and Canada, if it is willing — 90 days from now.”

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