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Canada and Mexico to discuss NAFTA

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OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian and Mexican officials will meet on Wednesday to discuss how to handle negotiations on NAFTA, two well-placed sources said on Tuesday, as a top Canadian diplomat hinted at a potential clash with Washington.

The working-level talks are scheduled to take place in Ottawa, said the sources, who asked to remain anonymous given the sensitivity of the situation.

“The two sides will be looking for areas where they can work together,” said one of the sources.

The meeting was scheduled before the United States on Monday released its goals for negotiations to update the North American Free Trade (NAFTA), which came into force in 1994.

Washington’s wish list contains potentially contentious items such as cutting the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and Canada, boosting enforcement of labor standards and eliminating a trade dispute mechanism — all of which will be discussed by the Canadian and Mexican delegations, said one source.

Earlier on Tuesday, Canada’s ambassador to Washington said it was critical for NAFTA to have a dispute resolution mechanism.

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