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NAFTA renegotiation to begin Aug. 16 in Washington

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The first round of talks between Canada, the United States and Mexico on revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will take place in Washington from Aug. 16-20, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday.

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Lighthizer also said John Melle, a veteran of North American trade policy and assistant U.S. trade representative for the Western Hemisphere, would lead the day to day negotiations of NAFTA for the United States.

U.S., Mexican and Canadian trade officials plan to hold seven rounds of talks at three-week intervals in a bid to wrap up the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rapidly, Mexican sources familiar with the situation said.

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Negotiations to upgrade the accord that underpins over a trillion dollars of trilateral trade between the United States, Mexico and Canada are due to begin from Aug. 16 at a pace that was described as “very aggressive” by one of the Mexican officials.

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A well-placed Canadian source familiar with discussions said the United States had proposed the schedule, but could not confirm whether an agreement had been reached on the timetable.

— Reporting by Lesley Wroughton