Because the White House has to notify Congress 90 days in advance of signing an agreement, negotiators have only until Friday to strike a deal if they want to finish a new NAFTA before current Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto is replaced by left-wing president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in early December. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is set to appear in Washington to meet with negotiators on Tuesday, but it remains to be seen just how flexible the Canadians are willing to be on a number of politically-sensitive issues, such as dairy tariffs. If Canada does not agree to a renegotiated NAFTA this week, the White House plans to notify Congress of the U.S.-Mexico deal on Friday instead, a senior Trump administration official told reporters on a phone call with reporters Monday afternoon.
“Ideally Canada will be in it and we’ll be able to notify that. If Canada’s not in, we’ll notify that we have an agreement with Mexico and we’re open to Canada joining us,” the official told reporters.
It is unclear why the office of the U.S. Trade Representative thinks this is an option.