White House notifies Congress on Mexico trade talks

WASHINGTON Mon Jul 9, 2012 2:34pm EDT

Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks at an event at the Singapore Management University April 26, 2012. REUTERS/Tim Chong

Trade Representative Ron Kirk speaks at an event at the Singapore Management University April 26, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Chong

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House formally notified Congress on Monday of its intention to bring Mexico into negotiations on a free trade agreement with eight other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

"Mexico's participation ... further increases the economic significance of a TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a letter to congressional leaders.

A second letter informing Congress of plans to bring Canada into the talks is expected in coming days.

Both Mexico and Canada were invited into the negotiations last month by the nine current TPP countries: the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Brunei.

It is longstanding U.S. practice for the White House to formally notify Congress before entering into actual trade negotiations with any country.

Mexico is the United States' third-largest trading partner, behind Canada and China. Two-way goods trade last year totaled $460.6 billion, or more than double U.S. trade with its fourth-largest trading partner, Japan.

Mexico and Canada are already free trade partners with the United States under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which went into force in 1994.

In his letter, Kirk touted Mexico's entry into the TPP as opportunity to update that 18-year-old pact with a "cutting-edge agreement ... that will further enhance our trade relationship and benefit U.S. workers, manufacturers, service supplies, farmers, ranchers, small businesses and consumers."

Current TPP members are holding their 13th round of negotiations this week in San Diego, with an eye toward reaching a final agreement by late 2012 or early 2013.

(Reporting by Doug Palmer; Editing by)

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Comments (3)
bobber1956 wrote:
Interesting that they waited over 3.5 years to bring this up 3 days after Romeny mentioned it as part of HIS economic plan. There are smarter people than you watching this Obummer. Besides you just tried somethin like this and was laughed out of town when your SS showed the world what your Administration is really all about. All play and no work.

Jul 09, 2012 1:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
shayneedward wrote:
Here’s where I show my ignorance. How can having free trade deals with countries whose labor cost is galaxies below ours stimulate our economy? Won’t we just be setting up to export more manufacturing?

Seems to me, rather than free trade deals, we should be putting tariffs on cheap imports. I know that would, in the short term, cause inflation and devalue our currency, but, in the long term, I think we need that. It would also bolster domestic manufacturing.

Again, this is how it seems to me, in my ignorance. Anyone want to educate me? :)

Jul 09, 2012 3:17pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
bobber1956 wrote:
Actually you just educated me a bit-thanks.

Jul 09, 2012 3:27pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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