The U.S. is heading into the first round of talks on an updated North American Free Trade Agreement with an aggressive timeline for completing talks with Mexico and Canada, a Trump administration official said.
U.S. negotiators will present their text this week that will be used to craft a proposed new agreement, an official with the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said Aug. 15. The Trump administration is aiming for a high-standard, comprehensive new agreement, according to the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.
The U.S., Mexico and Canada begin official talks Aug. 16 on revamping the 23-year-old accord, which governs more than $1.2 trillion in annual trade. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has said the U.S. wants to complete a deal by early January to avoid talks getting bogged down before a general election next year in Mexico and mid-term congressional elections in the U.S.
On Aug. 15, the USTR official didn’t specify when the U.S. hopes to conclude negotiations.
President Donald Trump has called NAFTA a “disaster,” and threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement if he’s not satisfied with the talks. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Aug. 14 that Canada won’t accept “just any deal.”