By Barry Ellsworth
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday a new trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico is “eminently possible” in the near future.
The remarks about reaching a North American Free Trade Deal came after the U.S. dropped its contentious demand that 50 percent of parts in vehicles manufactured in Mexico and Canada for export to the U.S. be made in America. That requirement was a major sticking point for Mexico and Canada.
Trudeau did not mentioned a specific date for consensus on the deal, the eighth round of talks is tentatively set for April 8 in Washington.
The news of a possible breakthrough after months of dragged out negotiations sent the Canadian Loonie and the Mexican peso higher on currency exchanges Wednesday.
There was recent tension on all sides after Trump announced global tariffs on steel and aluminum coming into the U.S.
He later placed conditions on that approach signaling Mexico and Canada, which supplies more steel to the U.S. than any other country, would be exempted if they agreed to more favorable concessions for the U.S. on a NAFTA deal.
Trudeau said he is now optimistic a new agreement will be forthcoming.
“We are there working very, very hard and moving forward on trying to get a good deal,” Trudeau said in Ottawa as he was heading to a meeting with leaders of his Liberal party. “We know that there is a good deal eminently possible for Canada, for the U.S. and for Mexican citizens and workers.”
The possible breakthrough comes as U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer is slated to update Congress on the negotiations Wednesday and Thursday.