Trump administration thinks a NAFTA deal is close
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Thursday that the U.S. was close to reaching a broad agreement on how to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, but provided no indication of when the deal would be finalized or what changes would be included.A new deal will be another disappointment for the Democrats. NAFTA has always been a net positive for Texas, but several blue states have not fared as well. Discussions with Mexico's new President have been going better than many expected.
"Hopefully, we are in the finishing stages of achieving an agreement in principle that will benefit American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses," Lighthizer told the Senate Appropriations Committee in prepared testimony, adding that the talks were being done at an "unprecedented speed."
It was an optimistic take on the situation. The renegotiations have been stalled for two months and aren't likely to restart in earnest until next year, when Mexico's newly elected president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is sworn in.
During the most recent talks in May, officials from the U.S., Mexico, and Canada indicated they were close to a deal, but that several key issues remained. The talks were made more difficult by the U.S. lifting an exception for Canada and Mexico to its steel and aluminum tariffs, a move White House officials indicated was to place additional pressure on the countries.