May 17, 2017 10:44 pm
Updated: May 17, 2017 11:00 pm

Chrystia Freeland heading to Mexico to talk NAFTA next week

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is shooting back at Donald Trump's anti-Canadian trade rhetoric saying she will be "tough and strong" in fighting for Canada's economic interests with the U.S.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
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Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday she would travel to Mexico next week to discuss renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, which U.S. President Donald Trump says needs major changes.

Freeland also told parliament that Canada wanted all three member nations to be at the table for the formal talks, which she indicated should start later this year.

Canada and Mexico both send the majority of their exports to the United States and could be badly hurt if Trump goes ahead with a threat to rip up the pact unless it is reformed.

Freeland said she was in very close contact with Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who are leading the NAFTA file.

“Next week I am traveling to Mexico to meet with my counterparts there,” she said.

READ MORE: Mexico economy minister says Trump could announce NAFTA renegotiation plans next week

Several members of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and new U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told them on Tuesday they would prefer the current three-nation format but left open the possibility of parallel bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico.

Freeland told legislators that “our mindset is very much a trilateral deal — all three parties must be at the table.”

© 2017 Thomson Reuters

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