Trump announces new U.S. trade deal with Mexico

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Senior administration officials also made clear on a call with reporters Monday afternoon that they were still pursuing a revised NAFTA trade agreement, though they maintained the possibility of a bilateral deal between the USA and Mexico if a trilateral deal with Canada can not be reached.

Negotiations centered on revisions to portions of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, notably those involving auto manufacturing, which President Donald Trump has criticized for their imbalances.

President Trump added, the move will be an "incredible deal" for both countries, especially for the manufacturing and farming industries. He noted, for example, that Trump said nothing Monday about dropping Trump's tariffs on Mexican or Canadian steel - tariffs that were imposed in part to pressure those countries to reach an agreement on NAFTA.

President Trump announced the new deal on Monday, saying "we're going to call it the United-States Mexico trade agreement.It's a big seal for trade, big deal for our country".

"They used to call it NAFTA", Trump said.

"I told him it was important that (Canada) rejoin the process, with the goal of concluding trilateral negotiations this week".

"Once the bilateral issues get resolved, Canada will be joining the talks to work on both bilateral issues and our trilateral issues", Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, said Friday.

But the president hinted that all might not be smooth sailing from here, suggesting he could cut Ottawa out of the deal reached with Mexico and adding that he wanted to change the agreement's name.

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Any revisions to NAFTA will also require congressional approval, and some Republican legislators have been critical of Trump's plans to reshape the agreement.

USA automakers have opposed raising the North American content requirement, but the United Auto Workers union has supported it. A breakthrough between the USA and Canada on wages would be a big development, but Canada would still have to agree on that and all other issues.

"We'll see if Canada can be part of a deal", he said. But the countries still must resolve hard issues, including USA complaints about Canada's protection for its dairy farmers and the way disputes are resolved under NAFTA.

US President Donald Trump, a frequent critic of the existing deal, announced the apparent breakthrough on Monday.

Talks to overhaul the agreement began a year ago and have proven contentious.The Trump administration wants a higher percentage of auto production to come from within the NAFTA bloc before qualifying for duty-free status. But Trump and other critics say it encouraged USA manufacturers to move south of the border to exploit low-wage Mexican labor.

Other key issues are Chapter 19 anti-dumping panels, which the USA wants to kill but which may be a deal-breaker for Canada, as well as Canada's protected dairy sector, which Trump is targeting to dismantle.

Trump tweeted on Monday morning that that a "big deal" with Mexico was "looking good". If there were any issues, they could agree to meet on an annual basis to make sure outstanding issues didn't "fester" as one senior White House official put it.

"There likely will be a deal today", said Daniel Ujczo, a trade attorney with Dickinson Wright PLLC who has followed the NAFTA talks closely.

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