WASHINGTON — The U.S. Business Roundtable and the Business Council of Canada are urging trade negotiators to agree to a version of NAFTA that continues to include the United States, Canada and Mexico.
On Monday, the United States and Mexico cut a deal on a revamped regional pact that excludes Canada. Canadian negotiators are in Washington for talks that are aimed at reinstating Canada in a new version of the 24-year-old NAFTA.
“Forfeiting this three-nation partnership would destabilize North American supply chains, jeopardize jobs and undermine economic growth,” the two business groups said in a statement.
Canada’s top trade negotiator says she’s “encouraged” by urgent discussions that are intended to overhaul NAFTA.
Leaving a morning session with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tells reporters, “We continue to be encouraged by the constructive atmosphere that I think both countries are bringing to the table.”
On Monday, the United States and Mexico reached an agreement to replace NAFTA, a 24-year-old pact involving those two countries and Canada. But the new deal excluded Canada.
Freeland hurried to Washington to try to repair the damage. She’s seeking to forge a three-country deal by Friday, starting a 90-day countdown that would let Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto sign the pact before leaving office Dec. 1.
“We’re working very intensively,” Freeland says.