US, Mexico reach Nafta deal as pressure turns to Canada

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Freeland cut a trip to Europe short to travel to Washington after President Donald Trump announced Monday that the us and Mexico had reached a bilateral trade "understanding" that could lead to an overhaul - or perhaps the termination - of the three-country agreement.

That deal, Trump said, will benefit farmers.

Details of gains and concessions in the deal were only starting to emerge on Monday. The president added that the USA could further tax vehicle imports from Canada in response to a 300 percent Canadian tariff on American dairy products. That aim also may lie behind his comment that "we'll see" whether Canada remains a part of the trade deal. It's a tremendous amount of money and it's a very simple negotiation.

Mexicans and USA officials have been eager to revise NAFTA by the end of August to give allow the outgoing Mexican administration of Enrique Peña Nieto to sign the deal before leaving office.

The president invited a host of reporters into the Oval Office to watch him call his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Pena Nieto.

The new agreement with Mexico provides zero tariffs on agricultural products. Yet the preliminary agreement announced Monday is far from final.

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The three North American countries do about one trillion dollars in trade among themselves annually.

On Monday, the US and Mexico agreed on a pact to replace the decades-old trilateral deal, snubbing Canada in the process.

South of the boarder, the reaction was more subdued as the office of Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto released a statement saying the two nations have "reached an understanding on the main issues of importance for both countries".

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland rejoins the year-long talks following a hiatus of several weeks as the United States and Mexico ironed out outstanding bilateral disagreements in the renegotiation of the 24-year-old accord.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the president's National Economic Council, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, said in separate interviews today that concessions from Canada on dairy are essential to getting a deal by Friday.

The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico on Monday was a significant marker in the yearlong effort to renegotiate the trilateral trade pact, sweeping away key obstacles impacting the USA and Mexico that had held up trilateral talks.

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It would also be a big win for Mr Trump if he could have a deal ready to go before Americans head to the polls.

Trump called it "one of the largest trade deals ever made". That is not the same thing as signing a new bilateral deal.

The new agreement - pending the required signatures - could also change the proportion of a auto that must be made by workers who are paid $16 per hour or more.

The NAFTA renegotiations had dragged on for a year before the tentative agreement with Mexico was announced Monday.

That requirement could shift some auto parts manufacturing to Mexico from China, a White House official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. It also would require 40 to 45 percent of auto workers make at least $16 per hour.

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