Mexico Seeks a Swift Close to NAFTA Talks

July 23, 2018, 5:27 PM UTC

Mexico aims to close trade talks with the U.S. and Canada by the end of August, according to a Bloomberg report.

Closure on talks regarding the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would allow incoming Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, known as AMLO, to focus on domestic issues when he takes office on Dec. 1.

According to Bloomberg, those involved in negotiations believe a swift closure will also help the new president avoid criticism of the trade deal outcomes.

While Trump has continually threatened to end NAFTA and pursue bilateral trade deals, talks on the 24-year-old trade agreement are set to resume this week after a two-month break for Mexican presidential elections.

The Bloomberg report notes that key disagreements focus on proposals for an automatic expiration of the deal after five years and an end to dispute resolution panels, points which the U.S. supports but Canada and Mexico oppose.

López Obrador sent a letter to President Trump last week urging a resolution to the NAFTA talks, Reuters reports, as “prolonging the uncertainty could stop investment in the medium and long-term,” threatening economic growth.

“I am encouraged by the fact that we both know how to do what we say, and we have both faced adversity with success,” López Obrador wrote to Trump. “We manage to put our voters and citizens at the center and displace the establishment.”

Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland is set to visit with Mexican officials on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports, while Mexico will continue NAFTA negotiations in Washington on Thursday.