Business

NAFTA talks ideally wrapped up before 2018, U.S. and Mexican officials say

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday there are "incentives" to wrap up the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the end of the year due to upcoming elections in the United States and Mexico.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says NAFTA discussions ideally happen well before Mexico's election next summer. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday there are "incentives" to wrap up the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by the end of the year due to upcoming elections in the United States and Mexico.

"The incentives of the U.S. and Mexican electoral calendars encourage us both to try to finish (the renegotiation) by the end of 2017," Guajardo told Reuters. U.S. mid-term elections and the Mexican presidential vote are slated for 2018. "This doesn't mean that we'll set a date to finish ... It doesn't mean that we have an agreement to do so," said Guajardo.

Mexico sends the vast majority of its exports north to the United States, and local officials view the trilateral treaty as a lynchpin of their economy. "Without coming to an agreement we'll try to work in that direction," he added.

Separately on Wednesday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the best window to complete the renegotiation of NAFTA is by early January, well before Mexico's presidential elections and U.S. congressional elections.

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