Mexico's chief trade negotiator told a television network May 15 that completing the necessary negotiations on a new North American Free Trade Agreement framework "isn't easy" and was unlikely to happen before a May 17 deadline that would need to be met for the United States Congress to vote on a new treaty before the end of 2018.
"The possibility that we have the entire negotiation done by Thursday isn't easy," Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told the Televisa network. "We don't think it will happen by Thursday."
House Speaker Paul Ryan floated the Thursday, May 17, deadline at an event earlier this month because of timelines dictated by congressional-renewed legislation that allows for expedited trade negotiations and implementation.
The condensed timeline makes it difficult for the U.S. and Mexico to reach general deal terms in advance of elections in both countries. Mexico's presidential election is July 1, while U.S. congressional midterm elections are in November.