NAFTA Talks Near End Game

September 20, 2018

U.S., Mexican and Canadian negotiators are approaching a September 30 deadline that might actually be a deadline, in contrast to earlier target dates.  Under U.S. trade laws, President Trump should send the text of changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement to Congress by that date, and because of the need to write legal text, experts have said the last practical date to finish negotiations is really some days before that.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was to return to Washington D.C. this week in an effort to wrap up talks.  The U.S. and Mexico reached a tentative agreement earlier, and now the question is whether Canada will be part of the deal.  If not, there is some doubt about whether a bilateral agreement with Mexico alone could get expedited consideration under Congressional procedures.  Even if it could, many members of Congress have urged the Administration not to submit a trade deal that does not include Canada.