Mexico private sector says open to talks on NAFTA auto rules

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In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Trump said that a "good deal" in NAFTA negotiations could effectively return enough money to the U.S.to pay for the border wall. Mexico also has reached out to China to compensate for any loss of investment from the United States.

Trump has threatened to pull out of NAFTA if it can not be reworked in favour of US interests.

Justin Trudeau's "progressive" trade agenda - the insistence on including gender parity and Aboriginal issues in trade negotiations with the United States - is being cited as a barrier to progress by senior figures in the USA administration, according to people familiar with the matter.

"We've been talking with Canadian stakeholders, and we have some ideas we're looking forward to talking with our USA and Mexican counterparts about...."

"There's nothing that Canada could do, short of setting fire to the White House again, that would change the trajectory of whatever it is that Donald Trump is going to do", she said in reference to an 1812 war.

But Champagne talked about the "diversification imperative" - trying to expand Canada's trade with Europe, Asia and South America so that it's less reliant on the U.S.

Farmers have already been hit with commodities plunges and have been pleading with the president - through members of Congress and senior members of his administration - not to compound the crisis by threatening exports.

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Experts from the United States, Canada and Mexico offered that analysis January 10 during the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting, saying it would leave Mexico and Canada to devise a new way forward while sowing confusion and uncertainty among business leaders.

"I was stunned", said Ujczo.

That report seems to have been a false alarm for now, but the response it provoked revealed another possibility: Is Trump less likely to leave NAFTA now than he was several months ago?

Recently, though, some lawmakers and trade experts think they might have finally gotten through to him - but it's anyone's guess how long that could last. The president said he believes it would be his most powerful negotiating tool. In any case, Trump may have trouble persuading Congress to scrap the treaty, which could be required under US law.

It's crucial to show progress by then, Ujczo said.

While the USA has been clear there was a possibility it would withdraw from the agreement, Canadian officials believe a positive outcome is possible "if there is goodwill on all sides", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Thursday.

"I think the president is starting to realize that the notice to withdraw is less a negotiating tactic - and more a Pandora's box", Ujczo said. "You can't ever put it back together".

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