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Mexican foreign minister: 'We are ready' to rework NAFTA

Mexican foreign minister: 'We are ready' to rework NAFTA

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer formally notified congressional leaders in a letter Thursday that the president intends to launch negotiations with Canada and Mexico "as soon as practicable".

U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement are coming to fruition.

Lighthizer said the Trump administration aims to modernize the NAFTA by including new provisions to address intellectual property rights, regulatory practices, state-owned enterprises, services, labor, environment, and small and medium enterprises.

Trucks wait in a long queue for border customs control to cross into the U.S.at the Otay border crossing in Tijuana, Mexico on February 2, 2017. But the pact did encourage American manufacturers to relocate some operations to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor there; critics blame NAFTA for wiping out USA factory jobs.

"As a starting point for negotiations, we should build on what has worked in NAFTA and change and improve what has not", Lighthizer told reporters. "Canada economic relationship is the gold standard of worldwide commerce, really evolving into a post trade status within which we make things together and enhance one another's competitiveness with the rest of the world", he said.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the goal of new Nafta talks is to find a "solution that is both fair and beneficial for all parties".

"The Trump Administration understands that NAFTA has been an unequivocal success story for American agriculture", said Wesley Spurlock, National Corn Growers Association president.

Korean officials seek to mend rift with meetings
Lee first met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi after his arrival in the Chinese capital, and they shared their opinions. In July 2016, Washington and Seoul reached an agreement on placing a US THAAD system in South Korean territory.

In particular, the law requires the President to give Congress written notice at least 90 calendar days before initiating trade negotiations with another country.

"The trilateral agreement has been an huge benefit for all parties", Mexico's economic ministry said in a statement. "We have been from day one", Freeland said.

In a statement, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said the USTR's move represents "an important step today to ensure our trade agreements improve the lives of American families and workers". The other two Executive Orders concerned a US Government hiring freeze for all departments but the military, and "Mexico City" which bans federal funding of abortions overseas.

Lighthizer said the US will seek to "support higher-paying jobs in the United States and to grow the USA economy by improving USA opportunities to trade with Canada and Mexico". "We absolutely must not have any disruptions in exports to our No. 2 (Mexico) and No. 4 (Canada) markets", said Ken Maschhoff, NPPC president.

In the opinion of Merkley, "If Trump's wealthy and powerful friends dictate the terms of the renegotiation, NAFTA could easily become worse, not better, for working Americans".

Steve Verheul will be the chief negotiator on Canada's NAFTA renegotiation team, CTV News has confirmed. After Trump publicly slammed Canada's dairy, softwood and energy industries, the US imposed a 24 per cent tariff on Canadian softwood lumber.

"If we all do our jobs well, the result will be a stronger agreement that spurs economic growth and job creation, not just in the United States, but across North America", he said.


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