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Trump administration hints NAFTA withdrawal not imminent

Click to play video 'Some progress, lots of frustration in NAFTA talks' Some progress, lots of frustration in NAFTA talks
ABOVE: Some progress, lots of frustration after latest round of NAFTA talks.

Members of the Trump administration keep dropping hints that withdrawing from NAFTA is not in their current plans.

The latest example came Thursday when U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told a gathering in Congress that he’s cautiously hopeful there will be a deal.

READ MORE: NAFTA talks moving too fast to make substantial progress, Canada’s chief negotiator says

He refused to even discuss the potential consequences of a U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA when asked by a congressman – because, Mnuchin said, that’s not the U.S. administration’s main priority.

It’s the third such hint from a prominent member of the administration in recent days.

WATCH: ‘Canada does not treat us right,’ Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum

Click to play video '‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum' ‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum
‘Canada does not treat us right’: Trump questions partnership in NAFTA ultimatum

U.S. trade czar Bob Lighthizer, in a public meeting this week, said progress is being made in the renegotiation. He described the anxiety about a U.S. withdrawal as something in the past tense.

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That’s after U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he expects a NAFTA deal by year’s end.