There could be between six to nine rounds of negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico in the event a quick deal is reached on a revamp of the North American Trade Agreement, Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexican Economy Minister said.
Guajardo told reporters in Mexico City on Friday the NAFTA members were looking at avoiding gaps of more than three weeks between negotiating rounds with a view to making quick progress.
Reuters this week reported the three countries had agreed an aggressive timetable to broker a deal on NAFTA in order to avoid politicising Mexico’s presidential election in July 2018, forecasting rounds held at three-week intervals.
The first round of talks on renegotiating NAFTA is due to begin in Washington on Aug. 16.
Two Mexican officials said the neighbouring countries aimed to hold seven rounds of negotiations, and U.S. officials told Reuters that Mexico wanted the talks wrapped up by year-end 2017.
Guajardo noted that it was in the interests of the negotiators to wrap up talks in good time lest a new government take office in Mexico and refuse to honor the terms.
U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed for a renegotiation of NAFTA, threatening to dump it if he cannot rework the accord to the benefit of the United States. He argues it has fueled a trade deficit with Mexico and cost thousands of U.S. jobs.