The ambassador of Mexico to the United States said on Tuesday that there is a 50-50 chance of ending the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Gerónimo Gutiérrez said that despite the tensions and a cloud of uncertainty suspended negotiations between the three trading partners – Mexico, the United States and Canada – he thinks that an updated NAFTA agreement can be reached sometime next year .
"Despite the important differences, we are communicating fluently, we are attractive, and that is important," Gutiérrez told CBS News.
"I am moderately optimistic, in fact, we can reach an agreement in the next few months," he said.
The United States, Mexico and Canada completed their fifth round of renegotiations last month in Mexico City over the almost 23-year-old free trade agreement with many pending issues.
Representative Robert Lighthizer Robert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMORE said in a statement on November 21 after those conversations that he remains "concerned about the lack of progress" in the agreement.
"So far, we have not seen any evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to commit themselves seriously to provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement," he said.
"Without rebalancing, we will not achieve a satisfactory result".
On Tuesday, President Trump met with six Republican senators at the W hite House urging him to preserve the agreement with North America.
Trump has repeatedly said that the United States has obtained a bad agreement in NAFTA and wishes to see more benefits for the United States, including a decrease in trade deficits.
"We are going to see NAFTA very seriously," Trump said.
The next round of talks is scheduled for January 23 in Montreal.
On the issue of the border wall, Gutiérrez reiterated that Mexico will not pay the cost of construction.
"That certainly is not going to happen," he said.
The White House is urging Congress to include some funds for a border wall in any end-of-year spending bill.
Gutiérrez suggested a toll system that would help finance any border infrastructure project.
"There were preliminary discussions on that issue, and I think both parties are open," he said.