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article imageBusiness groups optimistic on NAFTA breakthrough

By AFP     Jan 26, 2018 in Business

Business leaders expressed cautious optimism Friday for a breakthrough in North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Canadian, US and Mexican negotiators were gathered in Montreal for a sixth round of crucial talks to revamp the 1994 NAFTA pact, which US President Donald Trump has threatened to kill.

"I'm encouraged," said Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

"If you compare where we are today to where we were a couple of weeks ago, it appears there is some incremental movement. That's positive," he said, noting that no proposals put forth had yet been "rejected out of hand."

"If there is a political will to make this happen, it's eminently possible, eminently doable," Beatty concluded.

Maryscott Greenwood, chair of the Washington-based US-Canada Business Council echoed the view, saying: "Key policymakers in the United States are now focused on how important this is and they are paying attention."

She noted that a a US congressional delegation was for the first time in Montreal for the NAFTA talks.

"These members of Congress are starting to realize that it's not just important to Canada, it's not just important to Mexico, but it is important in their own district, in their own states and that's a very good development," she said.

The Montreal round of talks are due to end Monday with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer holding a joint press conference.

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