The Trump administration might have told Congress that it will sign a free trade deal with Mexico in late November, but its work is far from done. The three-country NAFTA still exists, so to move ahead the administration will need signoff from Canada, unless Congress agrees to withdraw from the trade agreement — something it’s almost assuredly not going to do without a replacement deal with both countries. And Mexico itself is pushing hard for Canada to remain in the pact.
If the administration does try to move ahead with just Mexico — as Trump has threatened — lawmakers and business groups are expected to push back and say the president only had a mandate to renegotiate NAFTA. Still, the administration doesn’t have to release text of the agreement until 60 days before it signs the deal. That potentially gives it until the end of September to reach a final NAFTA deal with both Canada and Mexico.
Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland will be back in Washington on Wednesday to try again to reach a deal on the remaining sticking points, most notably dairy. Also a point of contention: whether to keep a forum that allows NAFTA countries to challenge each other’s “trade remedy” tariffs, which are put in place to counteract allegedly unfair trading practices like dumping. Read the full rundown from POLITICO’s Doug Palmer, Sabrina Rodriguez and Adam Behsudi here.