U.S. Commerce chief says hopes to finish NAFTA talks by early January

5/31/2017 Reuters

rosswilbur_villarrealidelfonso_getty_0U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the best window to complete the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is by early January, well before Mexico’s general elections and U.S. congressional elections in 2018.

Speaking at an event held at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank, Ross said also said that the Commerce Department would impose anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties on Mexican sugar and Canadian softwood lumber if negotiated settlements in those trade disputes could not be reached. The deadline for a Mexican sugar deal is June 5.

Ross said he hopes that the sugar and lumber issues can be resolved before negotiations with Canada and Mexico to modernize NAFTA can be resolved. U.S. sugar producers have sought the duties against Mexican competitors, arguing that Mexican government subsides for the industry are unfair.

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