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Mexico, US NAFTA talks to resume

MNA Business Desk: US and Mexican trade negotiators are close to squaring away bilateral differences on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and will resume talks on Monday morning, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Sunday.

Earlier, Guajardo told reporters the two sides were likely “hours” away from reaching a common position, but in the evening he said more work still needed to be done, and that talks would start again on Monday at 9 a.m. local time in Washington.

“We’ve continued making progress,” Guajardo said.

The Mexico-US discussions have focused on crafting new rules for the automotive industry, which US president Donald Trump has put at the heart of his drive to rework the 24-year-old pact he says has been a “disaster” for American workers.

Canada has sat out the most recent phase of the year-long discussions, and once it rejoined the talks, the three sides would need to work for at least another week, Guajardo said.

Leaving the offices of US Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer late on Sunday, Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray said Canada would return once bilateral issues were resolved. “But we haven’t finished this stage yet,” he said.

The two sides have been gradually nearing agreement on autos, and one source close to the negotiations said at the weekend there was now “little” separating the two.

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