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According to reporting by Reuters, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer stated on Thursday that he hopes a breakthrough on Mexico-US negotiations in imminent, but Mexico remains decidedly more neutral, stating that flexibility is still needed to reach an agreement.

Key quotes

“Lighthizer was speaking in Washington amidst the latest round of high-level talks between U.S. and Mexican officials to rejig the North American Free Trade Agreement, known as NAFTA, with a deal still elusive a year after the renegotiation began.

“I’m hopeful that in the next several days we’ll have a breakthrough,” Lighthizer said in response to a question from U.S. President Donald Trump on how talks were progressing during a U.S. cabinet meeting at the White House.

Departing from earlier talks at Lighthizer’s offices, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo suggested there was still work to be done before agreement could be reached.

“Everybody has got to show flexibility,” he told reporters.  Guajardo last month expressed hope that there could be a preliminary NAFTA deal by the end of August, but he has since appeared to pull back from that position.

The U.S. team’s insistence on making tariff-free market access under NAFTA conditional on higher regional auto content and certain wage level requirements for auto industry workers has been a particular stumbling block at the talks.”