NAFTA deal still possible from end-May onwards: Guajardo

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo speaks to the media during a news conference at Los Pinos presidential residence in Mexico City, Mexico May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Wednesday that he would not rule out reaching a deal to agree a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) from the end of the month onwards, even if it was not possible this week.

Guajardo said it was impossible for negotiators to reach a deal before May 17, a date U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan flagged as a deadline to give lawmakers a chance of approving it before a newly elected U.S. Congress takes over in January.

“However, I would not rule out at any point, if the participants show the willingness, that we can settle this negotiation at any moment from the close of May onwards, or in June,” the minister told Mexican radio.

Guajardo said it was not yet clear when the ministers from Mexico, Canada and the United States responsible for negotiating NAFTA would meet again.

Reporting by Dave Graham