U.S. on NAFTA deal: Either this month, or not this year at all, Lighthizer says

The U.S. trade czar says he'd like to get a NAFTA agreement this month.

If not, he thinks the issue will drag into 2019.

Robert Lighthizer made the remarks in a lunchtime discussion at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington.

He's going to China this week, then meets with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts on May 7.

Lighthizer says that there's probably a week or two to get a deal after that. If it doesn't happen, he says it'll probably be pushed off until after the U.S. midterm elections, and he says a new Congress might have different priorities about what it wants in a deal.

He says the NAFTA negotiations are tied to the threat of U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs: the U.S. is threatening to impose tariffs on Canada and Mexico by June 1.