February 15, 2018 4:21 pm

Trump administration hints NAFTA withdrawal not imminent

ABOVE: Some progress, lots of frustration after latest round of NAFTA talks.

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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

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.

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

© 2018 The Canadian Press

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