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Ross told reporters that “sometime in the next couple of weeks” he hopes to send a letter notifying Congress that the Trump administration intends to launch NAFTA negotiations in 90 days.
Guajardo said that Mexico would be ready to start NAFTA talks any time after the end of May, but would wait until the United States and Canada finish their own legislative processes to prepare for talks.
The U.S. notification period on NAFTA will also give the Trump administration time to secure confirmation of Robert Lighthizer, the nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, who would take a lead role in NAFTA talks.
Ross added that he was consulting on the NAFTA talks with leaders of Congress’ two trade panels, the Senate Finance Committee and the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee.
A notification about NAFTA in the next two weeks would put the likely start of talks late June or early July.
“NAFTA is a trilateral agreement…it makes a lot of sense to discuss [the chapters of NAFTA] trilaterally,” Guajardo said.
President Trump calls NAFTA a “one-sided deal” that’s only benefited Mexico and caused the U.S. to lose jobs to its southern neighbor.
Related: My American job is moving to MexicoThere is already debate about whether Canada and the U.S. would strike a trade deal without Mexico.
Guajardo said Friday that Mexico already triggered its 90-day consultation period and will be ready to negotiate by May.
Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross wants to keep the option open for the U.S. to hold separate trade talks with each of the stakeholders: Canada and Mexico.
U.S. could take first step in NAFTA renegotiation within two weeks: Ross
That’s what triggers the beginnings of the formal process itself.
The U.S. government hopes to take the first formal step in renegotiating NAFTA within the next couple of weeks, setting the stage for actual negotiations with Canada and Mexico later this year.
The Trump administration could officially advise Congress within two weeks of its intention to renegotiate the quarter-century-old agreement, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday.
Could be slowed”The next stage will be — hopefully sometime in the next couple of weeks — issuing the 90-day (consultation) letter.
In Canada, the trade process is slightly less formal — guidelines require ministers to present memorandums to cabinet before trade talks, and the government consults industry stakeholders.