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Commerce chief Ross says 'some sort' of NAFTA deal will reach Trump

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Wilbur Ross: “Some sort of a draft will land on his desk.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Tuesday that he believes NAFTA negotiations will produce “some sort” of a deal for President Donald Trump to evaluate but repeated his warnings that the United States will walk away from the trade pact if key problems are unresolved.

Ross, speaking before the start of a fifth round of talks this week to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, said Mexico and Canada would suffer far more than the United States if the pact is dissolved.

“I would certainly prefer them to come to their senses and make a sensible deal,” Ross told a Wall Street Journal CEO forum.

“In any negotiation if you have one party that is not in fact prepared to walk away over whatever are the threshold issues, that party is going to lose,” Ross added.

Trump has relentlessly criticized NAFTA for draining U.S. manufacturing jobs to Mexico, calling it “the worst trade deal ever made” and threatening to scrap it unless it can be improved to reduce U.S. trade deficits with Mexico and Canada.

Ross said Trump’s “general point of view is that no deal is better than a terrible deal,” but added that he does not know how Trump will evaluate a deal resulting from negotiations.

“Some sort of a draft will land on his desk. So it will be a binary decision in that sense,” Ross said.

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