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Nafta redo tops Commerce to-do list, Ross pledges

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Reworking the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) will be a top priority for the U.S. Commerce Department under the Trump administration, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross pledged.

“To start with, we will be involved with rebalancing a global trade system that has gutted American manufacturing and left families across America without work and without hope,” Ross pledged in brief comments before Commerce employees on March 1 in Washington.

“We will play a major role in renegotiating bad trade deals, like Nafta, as the administration seeks to institute a system of both free and fair trade,” he stressed. Ross blamed Nafta for the loss of “more than a quarter” of U.S. manufacturing jobs.

The United States has run “massive” trade deficits with its Nafta trading partners—Canada and Mexico—for years, according to a leaked copy of the 2017 U.S. national trade policy agenda posted online by the Financial Times. The U.S.’ combined trade deficit with Canada and Mexico stood at $74 billion in 2016 alone, the document indicated.

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