Administration Focusing on Good, Not Quick, NAFTA 2.0

The U.S., Canada, and Mexico are all on separate pages when it comes to a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the administration is more focused on reaching a good deal rather than an immediate one. He added that it doesn’t matter if it’s passed in this session of Congress or the next one.

Mnuchin’s comments, reported by Bloomberg, are the latest to suggest that the door may be open to finishing the NAFTA negotiations sometime after the Mexican presidential election on July first. However, he did raise the prospect of the president having multiple options on the table. “I’m not saying he’s willing to let it spill over,” Mnuchin says, “but he has all his alternatives. I’m just saying that, right now, we’re focused on negotiating a good deal and not focused on deadlines.”

Mexico’s chief negotiator says the three countries have agreed on nine of about 30 chapters in the agreement. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that there was a good NAFTA deal already on the table. However, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said just hours later that the “governments were nowhere close to a deal.”