Some of what was said Wednesday as three-way NAFTA talks got underway


WASHINGTON — Some quotes from Day 1 of the NAFTA renegotiation talks:

“Our approach stems from one essential insight, we pursue trade, free and fair, knowing it is not a zero-sum game.” — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.


“Trade is about people, it’s about creating the best possible conditions for jobs, for growth and for prosperity.” — Freeland.


“It is not up to Canadians to choose who is the government of the United States. That is the democratic choice of the American people, and we absolutely respect that choice.” — Freeland, when asked how Canada can negotiate with a U.S. administration that appears to have lost the confidence of business leaders.


“We want to protect NAFTA’s record as an engine of job creation and economic growth. We will work to modernize NAFTA, to bring it up to date. We’re going to take advantage of this opportunity to cut red tape for businesses and to harmonize regulations.” — Freeland.


“We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement.” — American trade representative Robert Lighthizer.


“We cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved because of incentives — intended or not — in the current agreement.” — Lighthizer.


“My hope is that together we will produce a result which moves us to freer markets, fairer and balanced trade and stronger ties between our three countries.” — Lighthizer.


“The process we begin today is not about going back to the past. It is about looking to the future. The issue is not about tearing apart what has worked. … For a deal to be successful, it has to work for all parties involved.” — Mexican lead minister, Ildefonso Guajardo.


“Each country has issues that they could bring forward. If we spent our time talking about these, all it would be is a family fight. … the three countries operate in very close relationship, we’re going to have differences and I don’t think it’s bad to have differences and having a healthy discussion around those.” — Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Ron Bonnett.


“Our stand is that we do no harm. This has been a good trade treaty for North American agriculture from Mexico to Canada and we want to make sure that we have our voice heard loud and clear, that we don’t want to harm the gains that we’ve had in it.” — American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall.

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