Negotiations for revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement will continue next week as all sides remain hopeful to reach a deal this month. Top-level talks, according to reports, will continue after a U.S. trade delegation returns from China. U.S. officials and negotiators from Canada and Mexico have been eying an early May finish line, and in mid-April, Vice President Mike Pence said it was a “real possibility” an agreement could be reached in the next several weeks. However, just between Canada and the U.S., issues like dairy, dispute-resolution mechanisms, a proposed five-year sunset clause, and intellectual property remain unresolved, according to The Canadian Press. Still, all sides appear positive an agreement will be reached soon.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership continues to move forward without the United States. Mexico last week ratified the new TPP agreement, now called the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. Mexico’s Senate voted 73-24 to approve the agreement which will go into effect when six of the 11 nations approve the deal. President Trump earlier this month directed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow to consider rejoining the TPP, but he later voiced his preference for a bilateral trade agreement with Japan rather than the TPP agreement.
Meanwhile, Japan will visit with Thailand as Thailand hopes to join the new TPP, a move Japan predicts would pressure the United States to again consider rejoining the pact. The National Pork Producers Council points out that Japan is the top pork export market for the United States. Further, the Trans-Pacific Partnership was expected to add $4 billion worth of U.S. ag exports to the ag economy.