New buy North American rules for autos seen as key to NAFTA deal

WASHINGTON _ The United States has signalled a desire to get a NAFTA agreement before a U.S. legislative deadline early next month.

And now comes news that U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer is being dispatched to China for talks there next week.

Four people briefed on the NAFTA developments say all this fuels expectations of a deal as early as this week.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington for the second time in days and says good progress is being made, but she won’t comment on the timing.

One thing she does say is that, in her view, autos will be the main change in a new NAFTA.

Two sources familiar with the autos negotiations say the agreement would require high-value parts to consist mainly of North American steel.