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Ross downplays administration split on NAFTA, outlines priority areas for renegotiation

May 02, 2017

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday today outlined several issues that should be addressed in a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- including services, rules of origin, digital trade and dispute settlement -- while downplaying a West Wing debate over whether to withdraw from the agreement.

[Brett Fortnam] May 1st, 2017 [Inside U.S. Trade]

“I think what people don't understand is that the president encourages lively discussion within the White House and between the White House and the cabinet,” Ross told CNBC on May 1. “In the course of those discussions, all kinds of alternatives come up. I think what's unfortunate is someone leaked one of the many potential papers that was floating around and created a whole skirmish over something that had not been decided on by the president.”

Inside U.S. Trade reported that administration officials were divided over whether to notify Canada and Mexico of its intent to withdraw from NAFTA at the same time it notifies Congress of its intent to renegotiate the trade agreement.

White House adviser Peter Navarro has pushed hard for NAFTA withdrawal while National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn has resisted the effort, according to sources.

Read more at Inside U.S. Trade


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