In 'no rush' to complete deal to rewrite NAFTA

In 'no rush' to complete deal to rewrite NAFTA

Mexico's foreign minister Luis Videgaray, in Washington with Guajardo for meetings with USA officials, also struck an optimistic note, saying "we are getting close" when asked about the likelihood of reaching a breakthrough.

Lighthizer was speaking in Washington during the latest round of high-level talks between USA and Mexican officials to rejig the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, with a deal still elusive a year after the renegotiation began.

Canadian officials have insisted they're unfazed by being left out of the discussions because it's allowing the USA and Mexico to sort out tough bilateral issues, such as their differences on autos. Now, he says, the U.S. Is pursuing a more bilateral approach to talks - working with either Mexico or Canada alone, rather than in a group.

But some observers have refused to buy that argument.

Trump himself said he was in "no rush" to conclude the talks, repeating his oft-stated complaint that the 24-year-old trade agreement had been a "disaster" for the United States.

"We're not negotiating with Canada right now", said Trump, who has frequently complained about Canada's supply-managed dairy sector.

In a jibe to Canada, Trump repeated his claim that the country's tariffs and trade barriers were "too high", which was why the USA wasn't even talking to them right now. But we'll see how that works out.

Trade negotiators have sounded optimistic in recent weeks.

Meetings also took place at the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, where one official said most of the talks are coming along well.

The U.S. and Mexican governments have both expressed optimism the entire NAFTA renegotiation could be concluded before the end of the month. Lighthizer told Trump, "I'm hopeful that in the next several days we'll have a breakthrough".

"We have much better alternatives than that".

He said technical discussions would continue Monday and that he would return Tuesday to continue the high-level talks.

The U.S. and Mexico are resolving their differences on agricultural products covered under NAFTA after the Trump administration withdrew some of its sweeping demands, bringing the nations closer to an overall deal, according to five people familiar with the discussions.

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