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US, Mexico NAFTA negotiators to resume talks next week: minister

© AFP/File | Mexican Economy Minister Idelfonso Guajardo (L), seen here speaking to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, said there is still "a lot of work to do"

WASHINGTON (AFP) - 

US and Mexican negotiators will resume talks next week on the update of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Friday.

At the close of the third consecutive week of discussions in Washington, the official said it remained possible to reach a deal by the end of the month.

But, he told reporters, "We still have a lot of work to do."

And he stressed that the most difficult issues had been left to the end, including the US demand that NAFTA be approved every five years, a provision known as a sunset clause.

"We are working like we've been doing for the last three weeks and making a lot of advancements. We are coming back next week," he said. "But as I said before: nothing is closed until everything is closed."

US and Mexican officials will continue to work on bilateral issues before their Canadian counterparts rejoin the discussions on modernizing the 24-year-old trade deal, Guajardo said.

US President Donald Trump demanded NAFTA be renegotiated after repeatedly criticizing the 24-year-old pact as a "terrible deal" and officials now are rushing to conclude the talks before Mexico's President-Elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.

© 2018 AFP