WASHINGTON, June 19 (Xinhua) — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Department Wilbur Ross said on Monday that he hoped renegotiation on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could be done by the end of this year.
“There are plenty of reasons to try to get this done quickly,” Ross said of trade talks with Canada and Mexico at the SelectUSA Investment Summit, citing of Mexico’s presidential election next July and U.S. congressional midterm elections next fall.
“In an ideal world, we try to get it done by the end of this calendar year, that would be a record speed for any big trade negotiation,” Ross told reporters, adding the trade promotion authority, the congressional authority for renegotiating trade deals, would also expire next year.
“I don’t know whether we’re able to do that, but we are certainly mindful of the calendar and the fact that the calendar is fundamentally not our friend,” he said.
The Trump administration in May formally notified U.S. Congress of its intent to renegotiate the NAFTA, triggering a 90-day consultation period before the renegotiation can start.
U.S. President Donald Trump has called NAFTA a “disaster” and blamed it for hollowing out the U.S. manufacturing sector. He has also threatened to quit NAFTA so as to ramp up pressure on Canada and Mexico to renegotiate the trade agreement.
Initiated by the Obama administration, the SelectUSA Investment Summit is the highest-profile event dedicated to promoting foreign direct investment in the United States. This year’s summit, scheduled from Sunday to Tuesday, attracted around 2,800 participants, including about 155 representatives from Chinese companies.