On Friday, when handing over to the Mexican Senate the text of the bilateral trade agreement that Mexico negotiated with the United States in August and does not include Canada, Minister Eldvonso Guajardo added that Washington and Ottawa were making a last resort "serious" to settle differences.
"For the first time there is a real effort from the parties" with the aim of reaching an agreement, he said.
"In the next 48 hours, we will know whether we are moving towards a trilateral agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Guajardo, the chief negotiator for the NAFTA-2 agreement, stressed that even if a deal between the United States and Canada was not reached at the last hour, a tripartite agreement could still be possible in the future.
But that means "moving ahead with a bilateral agreement and then identifying the legal steps we have to take to maintain the possibility of a tripartite agreement," he said.
A Canadian government source told Agence France-Presse that Canada's chief negotiator, Foreign Minister Christia Freeland, was "in constant contact with the Americans, formally and informally."
The United States and Mexico want to be able to present their agreement to lawmakers before new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Abrador takes office on Dec. 1.
The United States needs a three-month period to ratify the deal, meaning the text of the deal must be in Congress by Sunday.
- Tensions have risen - US President Donald Trump has called for a sweeping reshuffle of the 25-year-old trade deal, a "disaster" for the United States.
In August, more than a year after negotiations began, the United States and Mexico announced a bilateral deal but subsequent negotiations for Canada's accession to the accord stalled.
The negotiators said Canada's insistence on an item on trade disputes and protection of the dairy sector were the remaining two.
Ottawa wants assurances that the United States, after signing a new agreement, will not change its position and impose tariffs on Canadian cars.
Tensions have risen this week on both sides as the month deadline approaches.
"We do not agree with their negotiators," Trump said Wednesday, referring to Canada.
"Canadians are tough negotiators, and we should not sign a bad deal for Canada," he said.
Vratram needs to be in a strong position before the midterm elections in November, while Trudeau does not want to show that he made concessions before a general election next year.
- Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador confirmed on Friday that there was no specific date for Canada's accession to the trade agreement between the United States and Mexico, adding that the three countries were considering proposals to reach an agreement.
The left-wing president of skeptics of free trade and previously criticized NAFTA.
Lopez Obrador, who will take office on Dec. 1, told a press conference that "there are no specific dates that we still have time to reach an agreement". The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) remains a "trilateral" between the United States and Mexico Canada.
Lopez Obrador said he had a telephone conversation Thursday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who told him that "negotiations are very difficult and perhaps will not be possible" to reach an agreement.
He stressed that the United States put forward a proposal in return on Friday, saying that "this means that the negotiations are not over yet."
In late August, Washington and Mexico announced they had reached a bilateral trade agreement.
The US administration informed Congress that it intends to sign the new agreement by November 30 with Mexico, and Canada could also join it.
The Mexican president stressed that he did not want to "turn his back on Canada," but added that Mexico "will not reopen negotiations with the United States."
"He is waiting and hoping for a compromise between the United States and Canada," he said.
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