Mexico City (AFP) – Canada and Mexico on Tuesday May 23 insisted that an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement demanded by the United States must be negotiated in three-way talks and not bilaterally.
The foreign ministers of the two countries discussed common ground ahead of the talks expected to start in August at the urging of US President Donald Trump.
Trump has vowed to revise trade ties to get a better deal to benefit US jobs and industry, raising economic concerns for America’s neighbors.
US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week the White House had not yet decided whether the negotiations would be trilateral or held with each country individually.
“NAFTA should be modernized only under agreement of the three parties,” said Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, during a public discussion with her Mexican counterpart Luis Videgaray.
“In order to have a trilateral agreement, you need to have a trilateral negotiation,” she added.
Videgaray added: “Doing anything else will be, frankly, a lost opportunity. Having three agreements instead of one would not be the smartest solution.”
The countries are looking to resolve disputes on goods such as Canadian timber and Mexican sugar cane.