The latest round of Nafta talks is nearing its conclusion without any major breakthroughs or agreements on even the least-contentious topics, officials familiar with the negotiations say, fueling doubts among observers that a deal can be reached this year.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is scheduled to speak publicly alongside Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Tuesday to conclude the second round of talks toward a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Their joint appearance will cap a five-day session in Mexico City.
While negotiators have now initially addressed all major topics and made some progress, they have yet to agree on any major contentious issue and the three countries are far from a deal on any individual Nafta chapter, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss private talks. On some topics, discussion has been only verbal with no specific text proposals