NAFTA: Donald Trump refuses to commit to trade pact

Prime Minister concludes visit to Washington, DC

NAFTA: Donald Trump refuses to commit to trade pact

"It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible we will", he added.

"We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need", Trump said. "We can have that discussion, but I really do think it won't be Mexico and Canada that are pushing back against the secretary, it will be a lot of Americans". "So we'll see what happens with Nafta, but I've been opposed to Nafta for a long time, in terms of the fairness of Nafta".

"We are much worse off with a bad deal than without a deal", said Guillermo Vogel, Vice President of Steelmaker Tenaris, who co-hosted a meeting of Mexican and U.S. business leaders in Mexico City aimed at pursuing strategies of defending NAFTA.

On Friday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown offered his support, saying it was "about time" USA trade negotiators "took the pen away from corporate lobbyists and started writing trade policy that puts American workers first".

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Trudeau later said he was optimistic that an agreement would be reached. Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, speaking ahead of the latest round of talks, said terminating Nafta could harm US-Mexico relations and damage co-operation on issues like fighting drug-trafficking.

People briefed on USA proposals to be presented this week said Washington is seeking to sharply lift North American content threshold in auto manufacturing.

A rocky start to talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Washington this week is raising questions about the 23-year-old trade accord's fate. Trump made revamping or ending NAFTA - which he has called "a awful deal for our country" - a core pillar of his election campaign as he promised more benefits for U.S. workers in worldwide trade deals. All the while, the president has continued threatening to withdraw the United States from the trade agreement.

In an e-mail, Mr Curtis S. Chin, a former USA ambassador to the Asian Development Bank and a senior fellow with the Milken Institute, a non-partisan economic think-tank, wrote: "With Nafta now more than 20 years old, it could well use some revisiting and updating".

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The proposals call for North American content, overall, to rise to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent. US negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say.

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", he said in a speech delivered in Mexico.

But there is still some uncertainty whether Trump is deploying tough negotiating bluster or is seriously considering scuppering the agreement.

The Chamber and the trade group for Mexico's auto industry already have come out against an anticipated proposal to raise US -specific content.

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"If the required content to hit the threshold for a NAFTA vehicle is too high, people may say, 'Look, it's just too hard, it's too high, so we'll just ship the vehicles in, '" Magna International Inc.

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