WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Saturday that the United States could soon reach a “big Trade Agreement” with Mexico, while negotiators from both countries continued discussions to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which also includes Canada.
“Our relationship with Mexico is getting closer by the hour. Some really good people within both the new and old government, and all working closely together,” Trump wrote on Twitter.
“A big Trade Agreement with Mexico could be happening soon!,” the president added.
Trump’s comment came just minutes before Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo restarted discussions with the office of US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to reach an agreement in principle, after which Canada would join the negotiations.
On Friday, the US and Mexico agreed to continue talks over the weekend, after an intense week of discussions to conclude the renegotiation of NAFTA.
Mexico seeks to conclude the renegotiation in August, which would allow the current president, Enrique Peña Nieto, to sign the new agreement before the end of his term on Dec. 1.
However, political and trade tensions between Canada and the United States have risen over the last few months.
A top US official told EFE this week that Justin Trudeau’s government “really has a decision to make” as to whether it wants to “come back to the table with a more constructive spirit.”
Trump, on the other hand, has made it clear that if an agreement is not reached with Canada, he is willing to replace NAFTA with bilateral agreements.
“What the president has said is that he is open to the possibility of simply having a bilateral agreement with Mexico if that is all we can achieve,” the US official said, on condition of anonymity.
The meetings between US and Mexican representatives this week were also attended by Jesus Seade, designated chief NAFTA negotiator of Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who will be sworn in in December.
On Friday, Guajardo rejected that there were significant disagreements between the priorities of the current and incoming governments, saying they were “working like a team” and that they both had to “feel comfortable with the trade deal.”