trade relationships need an 'upgrade': Pritzker
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[February 05, 2014]
By Christine Murray and Julia Symmes
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) — The North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other U.S. trade
relationships are outdated and need an "upgrade", U.S. Commerce
Secretary Penny Pritzker said on Tuesday during a trade visit to
Attitudes toward labor and the environment as well as e-commerce and
new technology have shifted trade concerns since NAFTA was signed,
so the U.S. government is focusing on the Trans-Pacific Partnership
(TPP), which would establish a free-trade bloc stretching from
Vietnam to Chile, she said.
"NAFTA was a groundbreaking agreement 20 years ago and it has served
all of the North American countries well," Pritzker said of the 1994
treaty between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. "But now it's time to be
looking at how can we upgrade our trade relationships."
Mexico and the U.S. are two of 12 countries negotiating the TPP,
which would encompass about 800 million people and almost 40 percent
of the global economy.
The Obama administration is seeking the authority to fast-track
trade deals, like the TPP, to reassure the 11 other countries
involved that any agreement, once signed, would not be changed later
When asked whether there was any push to change the NAFTA agreement
specifically, Pritzker replied that the administration was focused
on getting TPP done.
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Pritzker, a businesswoman and heiress to the Hyatt Hotel fortune who
has been a prolific fundraiser for U.S. President Barack Obama, is
in Mexico on a five-day trade mission along with representatives
from 17 U.S. companies, ranging from railroads to the medical supply
Many of those companies are interested in opportunities presented by
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto's raft of economic reforms
passed last year, which spans telecoms to energy and taxes.
(Reporting by Christine Murray and Julia
Symmes Cobb; editing by Simon Gardner and Diane Craft)
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