A deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be reached within the next several weeks, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters while in Lima, Peru, for the Summit of the Americas.
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Pence said he was “very hopeful” that Mexico, Canada and the U.S. were close to an agreement on the negotiated trade pact.
The decades-old trilateral trade agreement has been a frequent target of President Trump, who has criticized large trade deficits the U.S. has with Mexico and Canada, as well as the relocation of American jobs and companies.
U.S. goods and services trade with Mexico totaled an estimated $616.6 billion 2017, with a trade deficit of $64.1 billion.
Talks on how to revamp the 1994 treaty began almost immediately after Trump took office a year ago. He warned that if it could not be overhauled to better protect U.S. interests, Washington would pull out of the pact. Both Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto have argued against scrapping the $1.2 trillion deal.
U.S.-Mexican trade has grown rapidly since NAFTA, with the U.S. as Mexico’s leading partner in merchandise trade, and Mexico as the third-largest trade partner of the U.S. If Trump were to scrap the deal, experts say that it could cost Mexico more than 950,000 low-skilled jobs and lower its GDP growth by 0.9 percent.