Canada ready to start Nafta rene­go­ti­a­tions, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - Business -

HANOI: Canada is pre­pared for the start of talks to rene­go­ti­ate the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (Nafta) and is con­fi­dent it will get a suc­cess­ful out­come, said Trade Min­is­ter Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne.

“The agree­ment, ne­go­ti­ated more than two decades ago, has been amended about 11 times, so we said we’re happy to sit at the ta­ble,” said Cham­pagne on the side­lines of a meet­ing of Asi­aPa­cific trade min­is­ters, here.

New United States Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert Lighthizer has kicked off the process for a re­work of the three-way agree­ment with Canada and Mex­ico, is­su­ing a 90-day no­tice to Congress.

Dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign, US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump called the deal a “dis­as­ter” that cost mil­lions of US jobs. A few weeks ago, he was weigh­ing whether to pull out of the agree­ment en­tirely.

Cham­pagne said some parts of the deal could be mod­ernised, cit­ing e-com­merce.

“I am con­fi­dent, if his­tory has been guid­ing us, that if we suc­ceeded 11 times that we are likely to suc­ceed again.”

Cham­pagne said he had a “good first meet­ing” with Lighthizer dur­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum gath­er­ing, here.

“What­ever dis­cus­sions you have start from the premise of a very fruit­ful re­la­tion­ship,” he said. Bloomberg

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