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Trade representatives Freeland, Lighthizer and Guajardo. Trade representatives Freeland, Lighthizer and Guajardo.

NAFTA deal eludes trade representatives after 5 days of talks

NAFTA talks will continue next week after five days of meetings in Washington failed to reach an agreement in principle.

The chief trade representatives of Mexico, the United States and Canada wrapped up their talks Friday but will meet again “as soon as possible” to evaluate any progress, Mexico’s Economy Secretariat said.

The three countries’ negotiating teams will resume talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement on Monday.

The meeting concluded just as U.S. President Donald Trump offered new criticism of the accord, describing it once again as “a horrible disaster” for the U.S. economy.

Negotiators have until Thursday to come up with a renewed NAFTA if the U.S. Congress is to approve it this year.

A key issue is the U.S. wish to get higher regional content rules in the automotive industry and get more production into higher-wage U.S. and Canadian factories. A Mexican official who would not speak on the record said the U.S. would have to show some flexibility to get a deal before Thursday.

Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said Mexico would not cede on any key points just to rush through an agreement.

“We have always said that we are not going to sacrifice quality and balance . . . for time,” he told reporters.

Source: Associated Press (en), Xinhua (en)

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