If no deal has been agreed upon before December when he will potentially take office if he wins the election, he is likely to replace the entire Mexican negotiating panel - and sending the entire process into reverse - the pact that has governed cross-border trade since 1994 will be way back up in the air once again and that is bearish for both the Loonie and the Mexican peso.
The U.S. political calendar matters because of the possibility that trade-skeptical Democrats will retake at least one chamber of Congress from trade-friendly Republicans in January. "They're ongoing now, and we're pushing forward and hopeful that we can get something done", she said.
Ministers hadn't even scheduled their next high-level meeting, negotiating staff weren't in the same country, chats were happening long-distance by phone and video conference, and less than one-third of the agreement's chapters were fully completed.
Politico, the Washington-based website for political news, noted that House Speaker Paul Ryan said the Trump administration has until May 17 to submit a final NAFTA deal if it wants lawmakers to vote on the revised agreement this year.
Mexico's economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo tweeted on Thursday that Trudeau's remarks needed clarification saying that any renegotiated NAFTA "that implies losses of existing Mexican jobs is unacceptable". Any country can quit on six months' notice; none of the parties has given that notice.
"As the author of TPA, we have to have the paper - not just an agreement".
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Ryan, asked Thursday whether there was any wiggle room in the NAFTA approval timeline for Congress, said "the wiggle room would be at the ITC".
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland was due to travel to the US capital later Thursday for internal meetings and talks with key stakeholders, said a spokesman.
President TrumpDonald John TrumpGiuliani says Federal Bureau of Investigation may have placed spy in Trump campaign Giuliani: There is "nothing illegal about looking for dirt on political opponents" Giuliani: If Mueller subpoenas us, we will challenge it MORE has called NAFTA a disaster that needed a total overhaul so it would provide more benefits to the United States.
Speaking to the Economic Club of NY on Thursday, Trudeau said that Canada, the US and Mexico had agreed on a "broadly acceptable" proposal on the auto issue. She told reporters Wednesday that May 17 was an "arbitrary" date and that the real deadline for a 2018 vote was "probably around mid-June".
Negotiators from the three countries remain far apart on several key issues, involving domestic auto content, dispute resolution and whether or not to impose a "sunset clause" requiring periodic renewal of the treaty, according to several accounts.