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Canada foreign minister will visit Mexico to discuss NAFTA talks
May 18, 2017 / 2:37 AM / 3 months ago

Canada foreign minister will visit Mexico to discuss NAFTA talks

Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, March 21, 2017.Chris Wattie

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday she would travel to Mexico next week to discuss renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump says needs major changes.

Freeland also told parliament that Canada wanted all three member nations to be at the table for the formal talks, which she indicated should start later this year.

Canada and Mexico both send the majority of their exports to the United States and could be badly hurt if Trump goes ahead with a threat to rip up the pact unless it is reformed.

Freeland said she was in very close contact with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who are leading the NAFTA file.

"Next week I am traveling to Mexico to meet with my counterparts there," she said.

Several members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and new U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told them on Tuesday they would prefer the current three-nation format but left open the possibility of parallel bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

Freeland told legislators that "our mindset is very much a trilateral deal -- all three parties must be at the table".

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Michael Perry

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