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            november 18, 2019

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US moves to make changes to free trade deal with Canada and Mexico


US President Donald Trump's new North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) deal is the "easiest trade deal that we've ever done," according to the usually hostile Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
"We're on a path to yes, and I think every day brings us closer to agreement," Ms Pelosi told a roundtable with Bloomberg reporters and editors. "I'd like to have it done as soon as it's ready. I wouldn't rule it out next year. Hopefully we can do it sooner, but I said when it's ready we'll do it."
Democratic negotiators and the Trump administration are close to finalising fixes to the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Ms Pelosi said last week, adding that she believes the deal could act as a model for future trade agreements if they get it right.
Earlier this year, Ms Pelosi designated a group of Democrats to negotiate changes to the agreement with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, focusing especially on enhancing the labour and enforcement provisions.
House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal, who is leading the Democratic working group, said last week that the two sides made significant progress. He also urged American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations (AFL-CIO) president Richard Trumka, Mr Lighthizer and committee staff to meet soon to iron out any differences.
Mr Trumka last week met with progressive lawmakers and told them not to rush to a vote. At the same time, he indicated that the negotiators are edging closer to the finish line.
So far, many labour groups have said the agreement isn't good enough, however, it's not clear if they would pressure Democrats to scrap the entire deal.
Republican lawmakers and Trump administration officials have become increasingly concerned that time is running out for a vote on the agreement this year and that it won't be possible to consider it next year, people familiar with the internal deliberations said.

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