US, Mexico finalize trade pact; Canada to rejoin talks Tuesday

Washington, Aug 27: After months of intense negotiations, the United States and Mexico agreed Monday on a thoroughly overhauled free trade pact, while talks with Canada are to begin Tuesday.

The uncertainty around the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement now revolves around whether it can remain a three-nation deal, as President Donald Trump suggested he could cut Ottawa out.

“It's a big day for trade. It's a really good deal for both countries,” President Donald Trump said in announcing the agreement from the Oval Office, with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto participating by telephone.

With the outlines of a NAFTA 2.0 now on paper, including provisions on auto trade, tougher worker protections and a provision to review the deal every six years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Trump and said the aim is to reach a new agreement.

The leaders “had a constructive conversation” on NAFTA, and “look forward to having their teams engage this week with a view to a successful conclusion of negotiations,” Trudeau's office said.

Canada's top diplomat and trade negotiator Chrystia Freeland cut short her trip to Europe to travel to Washington on Tuesday to rejoin the talks.

Negotiators have worked for a year to update and rewrite NAFTA, but in the last five weeks, Washington and Mexico City had worked to resolve their own differences without Ottawa.

(AFP/APP)

Posted on: 2018-08-28T08:30:00+05:00

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