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Lawmakers, unions campaign against secret trade court in 'new NAFTA'

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STEPHEN CROWLEY  NYT

"I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we're going to make it good", he said.

"We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need", Trump said. "If the agreement dies overnight, this is going to have an impact on the daily lives of a lot of people, because all of a sudden there's going to be a scarcity of nearly everything that we consume in Mexico-especially on foodstuffs", says the former office head for S&P's Global Ratings in Mexico City. He is to meet the Prime Minister of Canada Justine Trudeau on Wednesday for a fourth round of trade negotiations.

Meanwhile, a veteran Mexican diplomat has expressed fears about the possibility that NAFTA could be ditched in favour of bilateral agreements, an issue raised by Trump as well. "Otherwise, I believe you can't negotiate a good deal".

In his meeting with Trump, Trudeau was expected to remind the president that Canada is the United States' biggest export customer, with largely balanced two-way goods and services trade, and is not the cause of USA manufacturing jobs lost under NAFTA, Canadian officials said.

Vogel said US and Mexican businesses still believed NAFTA talks would produce a good deal and said they would continue to lobby their governments and lawmakers to negotiate a good deal.

Coming up with ways to achieve "fairer trade" was "the president's focus, and it's certainly my focus", Trudeau said.

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Trump, who made trade a key part of his 2016 presidential campaign, has repeatedly criticized Canada, alleging that it unfairly blocks US dairy products and subsidizes its softwood lumber industry. On Monday, U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue, speaking in Mexico City, said it was time to "ring the alarm bells" on NAFTA. Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee, both D-Mich., and both with vehicle and part plants, though not as many as once loomed there. It is unclear whether the combined diplomatic power of Harper, Ambrose and Mulroney can turn the tide, but it is heartwarming to see them willing to give it a try.

But Trudeau also told committee members that he was anxious about "poison pills", proposals the United States might make that were created to kill, not fix, the NAFTA agreement. But critics say the pact sent hundreds of thousands of USA manufacturing jobs to Mexico, where corporations took advantage of low-wage labor.

Trudeau said he "highlighted" the dispute in his talks Wednesday. This week, his government revealed it would investigate buying surplus fighter jets from Australia rather than complete a contract to buy new fighters from Boeing.

If Britain did join NAFTA, manufacturers wanting to export to the European Union and North America would have to produce goods in accordance with the two separate sets of rules, according to trade analysts. "Now we're renegotiating it. We've gotta make people know what the ISDS is".

"I hope the Trump Administration realizes that negotiating without foresight doesn't just adversely affect our economy, it is a return to a panicked approach to globalization and adversely affects the jobs of the 21 Century workforce that depend heavily on American ingenuity". Scheduled talks in this session have been extended by two days to Tuesday.

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