Trudeau Sees ‘Significant’ Progress in Nafta Negotiations

(Bloomberg) -- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Nafta talks have picked up momentum, the latest signal a framework deal could soon be reached.

“We are in a moment where we are moving forward in a significant way, hopefully there will be some good news coming,” Trudeau said Thursday in Quebec City. “Right now, we are having a very productive moment.”

The Canadian dollar briefly erased losses after Trudeau’s comments. It was down 0.2 percent at C$1.2789 versus its U.S. counterpart at 10:45 a.m. Toronto time.

The U.S. has softened a key demand on autos, according to people familiar with talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement. Senior Mexican and Canadian officials are in Washington this week for negotiations as President Donald Trump pushes to announce a framework deal at the Summit of the Americas next week.

Trudeau said his officials are willing to meet as frequently as the U.S. wants to work toward getting a deal, though his country’s ambassador to Washington said Wednesday there are “still lots of issues” to settle. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said last week he was hopeful they can soon reach a deal “in principle.”

Bank of Montreal Chief Executive Officer Darryl White said Thursday he’s confident in a positive outcome despite uncertainty over how Nafta might evolve. “We’re confident that the value of this balanced and successful trading relationship will be reflected in a positive conclusion to the negotiations,” he said Thursday at the bank’s annual investor meeting in Toronto.

Victor Dodig, CEO of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, echoed that, telling shareholders in Halifax he believes “the Nafta deal would be beneficial to the North American economy.”

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