May 17, 2018 / 10:38 PM / a year ago

U.S. trade chief says NAFTA countries 'nowhere near close to a deal'

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer walks towards reporters ahead of a meeting with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts to discuss talks on modernizing the NAFTA trade deal, in Washington, D.C., U.S., May 11, 2018. REUTERS/David Ljunggren

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said that NAFTA countries are far from reaching a deal on new trade terms as a key U.S. legislative deadline passed on Thursday but pledged to continue negotiations with Canada and Mexico.

“The NAFTA countries are nowhere near close to a deal. As I said last week, there are gaping differences on intellectual property, agricultural market access, de minimis levels, energy, labor, rules of origin, geographical indications, and much more,” Lighthizer said in a statement issued by his office.

Lighthizer said the United States will continue to engage in negotiations to secure a deal beneficial for U.S. workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses.

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by James Dalgleish

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