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The Woodlands' Kevin Brady meets with Trump to renegotiate NAFTA

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Washington, February 2, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump started talks with congressional leaders Thursday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, consulting with Texas Republican Kevin Brady, chairman of a House panel that will be charged with shaping the contours of a new hemispheric deal with major implications for The Lone Star State.

"We had a very constructive, very thoughtful discussion about the path forward, his desire to update and modernize NAFTA to make it not just free, but fair trade," Brady said after emerging from the White House meeting.


Brady, a Republican from The Woodlands, is a former Chamber of Commerce official and long-time free trade advocate. He said he is ready to work with Trump to fulfill one of the central promises of his presidential campaign, though he suggested a scope of reforms that may fall well short of the "new" deal that Trump said he wants.

"It would seem to me he wants to build upon what works for America in NAFTA, improve what doesn't, and bring forward really the 21st century issues that just haven't been addressed in that area," Brady said. "All to the goal of creating more U.S. jobs."

Trump, in remarks to reporters before the meeting began, suggested more wholesale changes to protect American workers, a signal marker of his campaign. "It's been a catastrophe for our jobs and our country," Trump said. "I want to change it and maybe we do it, and maybe we do a new NAFTA and we add an extra 'f' in NAFTA... for free and fair trade... because it's very unfair."

The meeting with Republican and Democratic leaders represented the first baby steps in what could be a long process of reopening the landmark 1994 trade deal between Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. It was also the first trip to the Trump White House for Brady, who will be instrumental in forging major reforms on both trade and taxes.

Photo Caption: President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, center, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah during a meeting with House and Senate legislators in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.
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Tags: Trade