As US deadline passes, Mexico says NAFTA deal still doable

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Uncertainty over the North American Free Trade Agreement as Canada, Mexico and the US negotiate the 24-year-old agreement could have an adverse effect on trading portfolios, according to investment banker Stefan Selig.

NAFTA is being renegotiated on the insistence of U.S. President Donald Trump, who took office on a campaign pledge to secure a trade deal that was more favorable to U.S. side. He doesn't oppose a NAFTA renegotiation on principle, because he knows the loss would harm Mexico's economy far more than that of the USA or Canada.

House Speaker Paul Ryan warned a new NAFTA deal had to be drawn up by May 17 before new lawmakers could change the political calculus, but talks remained stuck on key issues on Thursday.

Representative Gerald Connolly, a Virginia Democrat, also said that Lighthizer "indicated it is unlikely that an agreement would be reached by tomorrow". Any country can quit on six months' notice; none of the parties has given that notice.

That all but guarantees that a deadline cited by House Speaker Paul Ryan will be missed.

"An bad lot of things would have to go right in order for this to be voted on in this Congress", said Eric Miller, a Washington-based trade adviser and Woodrow Wilson Center fellow.

"If the conditions are outlined next week, there's nothing to stop us from closing this deal before the end of May", he added. "This isn't my arbitrary deadline".

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"To be honest, we are down to a point where there is a good deal on the table", Trudeau told the Economic Club of NY.

Freeland traveled to Washington on Thursday for internal meetings with labor officials and representatives from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a spokesman for her said.

Under the Trade Promotion Authority statute that would allow a simple yes or no vote on NAFTA, Trump must notify Congress 90 days before he can sign the agreement.

Even if the parties wanted to seal something quickly, there would have to be a breakthrough on multiple fronts.

"The state of play is uncertainty", said Maryscott Greenwood, chief executive officer of the Canadian American Business Council in Washington, which represents firms in both countries.

But here is the thing - While nations such as Canada and the U.S, might be feeling positive about NAFTA, Mexico is a different bag of "frijoles" altogether.

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