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Trump says NAFTA deal with Mexico must happen fast
27 July 2018, 10:01 | Vera Richards
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Mexican president-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called on President Trump to resume NAFTA negotiations with Mexico and Canada, warning that a protracted negotiation would reduce investment in the region.
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Negotiations to reshape the 1994 trade accord were launched last August at the behest of U.S. President Donald Trump, who blames NAFTA for the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico, and argues the deal has caused jobs to move south of the border.
A safeguard tariff is one the three trade remedies allowed for under the World Trade Organization rules, which also include anti-dumping duties and countervailing duties.
His comments come hours after Bloomberg reported Mexico was pushing for a NAFTA deal by the end of August and follows an Axios report German chancellor Angela Merkel is open to negotiating a trade deal to prevent Trump from carrying out his threat to put 25 percent tariffs on vehicle imports into the U.S.
Lopez Obrador, a progressive anti-establishment leftist, won Mexico's presidential election on July 1 with 53 percent of the vote, and is set to take office on December 1.
The letter was highlighted by being read aloud to media July 22 by AMLO's designated Foreign Minister, Marcelo Ebrard.
Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports were still casting a shadow on NAFTA talks, Morneau said.
Former Canadian government trade official Matthew Kronby, now a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais, said he expects the Canadians will be seeking to ensure Canada and Mexico work effectively together and "resist the Trump administration's divide and conquer efforts".
It was a response to a letter Lopez Obrador sent to Trump via a delegation of senior United States officials that visited him in Mexico City on July 13.
The Trump administration lobbied in June for individual trade deals with Canada and Mexico after three-way talks fizzled.
"Like you, I believe that meeting the challenge of illegal immigration involves more than just strong border security", Trump wrote, referring to Lopez Obrador's professed aim of improving economic conditions in Mexico and Central America so that fewer people feel the need to migrate.
The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had no immediate comment on the letter. Shortly after Mr. Trump's inauguration, the Americans presented the Canadians with what the official described as a back-of-the-napkin agreement that Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law and presidential adviser, had purportedly reached with Mexico's Mr. Videgaray.
Mexico aims to close trade talks with the US and Canada by the end of August, according to a Bloomberg report.
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John Cornyn of Texas, said sanctions may be preferable to a nonbinding resolution that amounts to "just some messaging exercise". Former House speaker and longtime Trump ally Newt Gingrich put it bluntly.