Positive 'NAFTA' Rewrite Now Seen as a Near Certainty

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Texas business leaders are cheering the news that a deal to save the North American Free Trade Agreement could be signed by the end of the month, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo tells reporters he is "constructively engaged" in the trade talks with the US, and the two sides are "getting to as close as possible." 

Mexican officials returned to Washington of talks with US officials on a number of contentious issues as part of a potential agreement on NAFTA. 

Guajardo says both sides are trying to work out issues around how much of a car is produced in North America, the level of worker pay for compliance with a NAFTA agreement, and the so-called sunset clause, which would cause NAFTA to expire every 5 years unless all 3 countries agree it should continue. 

Congressman Will Hurd (R-Helotes), who has long advocated for the trade deal, says that sunset clause would be a killer.

"There's been a lot of capital expenditures that have not happened on both sides of the border because people don’t know where the future of NAFTA is going."

He tells Newsradio 1200 WOAI's Michael Board that if NAFTA is good now, it will still be good in five years.  And many big businesses budget years in advance, so a sunset clause would not allay any fears.

"NAFTA has grown all three economies by 400-percent," he explains.

When it comes to the auto industry, U.S. negotiators are demanding that 75% of a car will be built in North America and, in Mexico, minimum worker pay should be boosted to $16 an hour, which is an issue for Mexico, which pays assembly workers much less.

 Congressman Hurd believes that number will settle around 70%.

And he's confident a deal will get done.  Mexico's new president, he says, wants it signed before he comes into office.

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