May 15, 2018

Mexico not optimistic on NAFTA deal wrapping soon

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico's Economy Minister, and U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer. Photo: Ronaldo Schemidt/AFP/Getty Images

Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said he does not think we will have a NAFTA deal wrapped up by Thursday, the deadline that would allow the U.S. Congress to vote on the package before the next Congress is sworn in next January.

Temper that: Trump’s Director of the National Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, told an Axios audience today that his optimism about the deal overall is “not great.”

Why it matters: If the blue wave really is coming this year to Capitol Hill, it is possible that the makeup of Congress next January will not back Trump’s moves to rewrite NAFTA and could derail the next proposal comes down the pike.

The other side: Canada’s Justin Trudeau: “There is very much an eminently achievable outcome...and we are very close.”

Be smart: Mexico has said it will continue negotiating past this Thursday, regardless of which Congress — old or new — will be voting on the renegotiation.

  • Yes but: U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer has threatened a retreat from the deal as a hardline. To be determined if he actually takes the hard line.

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.