WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Canada and Mexico may be open to a limited renegotiation of aspects of the United States-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement to satisfy U.S. lawmakers’ concerns, a top U.S. Democrat said on Wednesday, opening the door to its passage in the fall.
“There are alternatives, including strategically opening [the agreement] on specific items,” said Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon Democrat who chairs the trade subcommittee of the House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee.
He said that the trade agreement could be modified to address specific concerns, but was skeptical about using so-called side agreements, which he said had proven problematic in the current trade agreement among the three nations.
Mexico this month became the first of the countries to ratify the trade deal and Canada is pressing ahead to follow suit. U.S. Democrats have threatened to block the process until their concerns over labor and environmental provisions are met.
Blumenauer said that he was “troubled by the drive-by tariff strategy of this administration,” but was encouraged after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and eight other House Democrats on Tuesday.
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