Mexico says talks with U.S. will cover outstanding NAFTA issues

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo speaks to the media during a news conference at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, Mexico May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Thursday that talks with the United States to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will cover all outstanding issues in the negotiations.

Guajardo told reporters before a meeting at the U.S. Trade Representative office in Washington that there will not be a deal on controversial auto sector rules until all NAFTA issues are resolved.

“Everything will fall into place or nothing will fall into place,” Guajardo said.

Talks among Mexico, the United States and Canada to modernize the 1994 trade pact have dragged on since last year, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he wanted a better deal for U.S. business and workers.

Guajardo added that he was keeping Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland informed on progress of discussions with the United States. He was scheduled to meet on Thursday with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, without Freeland, to focus on sticking points around autos and possibly wage hikes.

Jesus Seade, the chief NAFTA negotiator for Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, said Thursday’s meeting would cover “A to the Z and everything in between.”

Before entering the trade office with Guajardo, he told reporters he felt confident that negotiators would be able to reach agreements if they move quickly, but said that auto sector rules are a “central part” of a deal.

“There won’t be any deal until there’s everything,” he said.

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