Mexico will only stay in NAFTA based on national interest, says FM


Mexico appeared to be preparing for the worst as the fourth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement were opening in Washington on Wednesday.

President Trump welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to the White House Wednesday as round four of NAFTA negotiations are underway on the other side of town.

But the USA president also said it's too early to give up on the negotiations, which resumed Wednesday in Alexandria, Va., with negotiators from Canada, the US and Mexico.

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", said Thomas Donohue, president of the US Chamber of Commerce, the largest business organisation in the United States. "It has to be fair to both countries".

Donohue pledged to fight "like hell" to defend Nafta if Trump tried to pull out, and urged Lighthizer to get a deal. "We have to protect our workers, and in all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people also".

Trudeau says the two allies have a "good partnership" and says that an "ongoing, constructive relationship" between the two leaders is really important.

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The U.S. president tells reporters it's a "tough negotiation".

"So saying, I think it's been clear that circumstances are often challenging, and we have to be ready for anything - and we are". He said tariffs would increase by more - around 7 percent - for US businesses exporting to Mexico.

The latest round of NAFTA talks kicked off with a discussion of government procurement, already a thorny subject - USA negotiators suggested during the last round in Ottawa that they want to limit Canadian and Mexican access to US projects.

Trump, who made the border wall a key issue during his campaign, has insisted that Mexico pay for its construction.

Trudeau is scheduled to visit Mexico today to hold additional discussions on NAFTA.