WASHINGTON — The top U.S. trade official says he’s optimistic a NAFTA agreement could be reached soon.U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer made the remark in an interview on CNBC.Lighthizer says that if a real effort gets made and people compromise, there could be an agreement in principle in the “next little bit.”He cites the reason for the sudden rush: elections.If there’s no deal in the next few weeks, the Trump administration fears that elections in Mexico and in the U.S. Congress will kick the talks into 2019 and make it harder to reach an agreement.In an effort to get a deal, the U.S. appears to have backed away from one of its most contentious demands and is no longer insisting that 50 per cent of cars be made in the U.S., and is now floating a different formula based on autoworker salaries.

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