The Mexican peso is jumping on hope for NAFTA progress

The Mexican peso is jumping on hope for NAFTA progress

U.S. President Donald Trump said today that his country " s relationship with Mexico is getting closer every hour and referred to the possibility of a future trade agreement.

The apparent progress comes as a relief for those who feared the July election of leftist Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has been a tough critic of Trump, could ramp up tensions between the U.S. and Mexico.

Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said the bilateral U.S. -Mexico talks are necessary because the two countries' one-on-one issues are more significant at this point in the year-long negotiations - but he added that leaving Canada on the sidelines has an added effect. However, a day earlier Guajardo had said the two sides might be able to reach agreement in "hours".

Ujczo said because of political and procedural hurdles on the horizon in the US and Mexico, the coming week will be crucial for NAFTA's renegotiation.

He also said that a "correct focus" on NAFTA's energy chapter has already been substantially agreed. "And will be happy to do that, once the bilateral US-Mexico issues have been resolved".

A major trade agreement with Mexico may be coming soon, the US president announced. "And [it] will be happy to do that, once the bilateral US-Mexico issues have been resolved".

"It could be that we end everything between the U.S. and Mexico this week", told reporters Jesus Seade, delegate to the NAFTA negotiations of Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who also is in the talks.

"Updating the "rules of origin" has always been a very big, important and complicated effort", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters.

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Some observers believe the Trump administration has sidelined Ottawa from the NAFTA negotiations.

The United States and Mexico are keen to seal a new deal before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto hands over power to Lopez Obrador on December 1. Jesus Seade, the NAFTA representative for Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, on Saturday predicted that the nations will agree on a lighter version of a so-called sunset clause, an automatic expiration after five years - a key US demand.

USA and Mexican officials say they will push for a deal that could open the door for Canada to return.

"For some time now, he (Trump) has been very prudent in referring to Mexicans, or he hasn't said offensive things", Lopez Obrador said Friday.

"There's been no indication of flexibility from the U.S. on this issue", a senior Canadian official told AFP on Thursday.

FILE - In this August 9, 2018 file photo, Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks to reporters after meeting with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto at the National Palace in Mexico City.

Even so, the USA administration has been seeking to impose a cap on Mexican vehicle and SUV exports to the United States that could be sent duty-free or at a 2.5 percent tariff, complicating the auto talks, according to three people with knowledge of the matter.

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