U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO expects basic NAFTA deal by mid-2018

NAFTA

The United States, Mexico and Canada are most likely to reach a standard accord over revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the middle of next year, the head of the most significant U.S. business lobby group stated.

The future of the deal binding the three countries has remained in doubt since Donald Trump won the United States presidency in November vowing to ditch it if he might not rework terms in favor of the United States, clouding the outlook for Mexico in general.

However, Thomas Donohue, CEO of the United States Chamber of Commerce, stated that he thought business leaders and policymakers were progressively knowledgeable about the need to get a new deal and proceed without interfering with business.

“We’re not going to be messing around with this deal 2018,” he said during an interview with Reuters on a visit to Mexico City where he will meet policymakers and make the case for free trade.

Trump contends that Mexico’s development as a manufacturing power since NAFTA took effect in 1994 has cost jobs in the US. Although supporters of the deal say it has benefited all 3 countries and assisted American firms compete worldwide.

The U.S. government has yet to send a letter informing Congress that it plans to release NAFTA settlements in 90 days – the notification period required under the fast-track procedure – so the potential beginning of talks is now drifting into August.

Donohue said that action must follow in the next few weeks, adding neither Trump nor U.S. firms had an interest in dragging out the NAFTA talks because of the financial damage it would do.

“( Trump) is looking at how to get things done,” he included. “And I can tell you that he wants to speed this thing up.”

When asked if he thought a standard agreement on a remodelled NAFTA would likely stay in place by July 2018, Donohue stated:

“Yes. That’s my viewpoint. That’s my view. The bottom line is we have to move forward on this deal. It is vital to our economic and geopolitical wellness. Period.”

Mexico, which sends 80 percent of its exports to the United States, will hold its next governmental election in July next year. President Enrique Pena Nieto’s government is wanting to conclude the NAFTA talks before it occurs.

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