Report: US Hints NAFTA Deal With Mexico Getting Closer, Canada Not So Much

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says talks with Mexico are on “a pretty rapid track.”

The US and Mexico appear to be getting closer to a deal on NAFTA, a development that could leave Canada with badly weakened leverage in ongoing negotiations.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross recently said“Our immediate, most close-to-completion negotiations are with NAFTA, particularly with Mexico,” Ross said Monday at a conference in Washington, adding that President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has “wasted no time” appointing a new trade team. “There’s a pretty good chance that we could be on a pretty rapid track with the Mexican talks.”

These comments from Ross come as the US continues to telegraph their intention to push for a deal with Mexico in order to leave Canada’s negotiators in a more desperate situation. In particular, if the US and Mexico reach a deal on auto tariffs, that could put Canada in a very tough spot.

While Mexico has said they support a ‘trilateral’ deal, they have also shown a willingness to meet one-on-one with the US, while Canada stands on the sidelines.

The Trudeau government has faced criticism for rebuffing US attempts to get a one-on-one deal done in 2017, which came at a time when the US was angry at Mexico while feeling fine with Canada. At the time, the Trudeau government expressed “solidarity” with Mexico, a tactic which appears to have backfired as the US and Mexico got closer in negotiations, and increasing anger was directed towards Canadian negotiators.

Spencer Fernando

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