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article imageMexico and Canada stress NAFTA pledge after Trump warning

By AFP     Jul 25, 2018 in Politics

Mexico and Canada reaffirmed their commitment to the NAFTA trilateral agreement on Wednesday despite a veiled threat from United States President Donald Trump 24 hours earlier to walk away from the deal.

In a letter sent to Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Trump had demanded the North American Free Trade Agreement be renegotiated "quickly" or else he would be forced to "go a much different route."

Following a meeting with Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland, Mexican foreign affairs minister Luis Videgaray said the trilateral agreement "retains its essence, its nature."

Talks were first launched last year after Trump demanded an overhaul of the "terrible deal."

"We have made significant progress and Canada also believes a win-win-win NAFTA modernization outcome is absolutely achievable, and that is something we are working hard on," said Freeland.

"Canada very much believes in NAFTA as a trilateral agreement and that's a simple statement of the reality."

Talks lasting 11 months now have stalled principally over US demands, notably to increase American content installed in duty-free autos and for the pact to be renegotiated every five years.

Mexico's economy minister Ildefonso Guajardo, who was also at the meeting, said that a renegotiation was "almost two-thirds" agreed.

On Thursday, Guajardo and Videgaray will head to Washington for more bilateral talks with US representatives.

NAFTA came into being in 1994, replacing a previous bilateral pact between the US and Canada.

Trump, though, has repeatedly attacked the agreement, claiming it has cost Americans jobs.

Freeland will also meet with both incumbent Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and anti-establishment leftist Obrador, who takes office on December 1.

Obrador officials were invited to Wednesday's talks as observers.

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