U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal; talks with Canada to start immediately

U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal; talks with Canada to start immediately

U.S., Mexico reach NAFTA deal; talks with Canada to start immediately

Trump said "we haven't started with Canada yet"-when in fact the USA has negotiated with Canada extensively, though Canada has been excluded from NAFTA talks in recent weeks-and "we'll start negotiations shortly".

President Donald Trump will make an Oval Office announcement at 11 a.m.

Trump has frequently condemned the 24-year-old NAFTA trade pact as a job-killing "disaster" for American workers.

But Trump's public announcement of the trade deal got off to a rocky start as the White House tried to get Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on the phone.

"Mr. President, you've been my friend, and you have been somebody that's been very special in a lot of ways, we talked a lot, we talked a lot about this deal, and I'd like to congratulate you and the Mexican people", said President Trump to President Nieto. Officials will have to decide whether to succumb to pressure from a joint agreement between the US and Mexico or risk economic insecurity. Canada has been absent from the discussions since Trump began criticism of Canadian trade policy.

During a phone call on Monday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, President Donald Trump said that if Canada could not agree to the deal, he would "like to call this deal the US and Mexico Trade Agreement", adding that NAFTA had a "lot of bad connotations".

Trump said the NAFTA name will be discarded, citing a "bad connotation".

Trump said he would call Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau soon and that the United States is open to talks with Canada if it is willing to negotiate fairly. The Mexican president said he wanted the former.

Freeland's spokesman Adam Austen said, "We will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class".

The U.S. agreed to keep the 2.5 per cent tariff now applied under World Trade Organization rules if the cars are made at factories that already exist, according to two people familiar with the plans, who asked not to be named discussing private negotiations. But what Trump's going for here is headlines saying he won ... and too many USA media outlets will probably give him that.

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A final deal would need sign-off from Canada, the third country in the treaty, which governs more than $US1 trillion ($NZ1.49t) in annual trade.

Trade negotiations with Canada are still ongoing.

If a NAFTA deal isn't signed before then, López Obrador could demand changes - and a deal that took years to negotiate could unravel.

Still, an accord between the U.S. and Mexico is the biggest development in talks that began a year ago, punctuated by Trump's repeated threats to quit altogether.

The deal will also see Mexico raise its so-called "de minimis" threshold to $100 United States from $50 previously.

The president said he plans to "terminate" the existing NAFTA agreement, which now includes Canada.

Negotiators have been shuttling back and forth between the three countries for months to try to iron out the bilateral stumbling blocks, including rules for the auto market, before the end of August.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said NAFTA had "gotten out of whack" and "created big trade deficits", something that long has irked Trump.

But the administration's own description calls the deal a "preliminary agreement in principle".

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