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NAFTA: Trump calls for quick negotiation, says he's open to different deal types

Donald Trump has unofficially launched the conversation aimed at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S. president said today that his commerce secretary will be involved in negotiations, that he’ll move as quickly as possible under legal guidelines, and that he’s not sure what form a new NAFTA will take.

Trump says he doesn’t care if it’s a renovated NAFTA or an entirely new deal, but that it’s important that it be fair.

Those remarks suggest the president hasn’t reached a decision on how extensive he’d like the changes to be _ or even what the final format of the agreement might look like.

Some trade experts predict the trilateral agreement of 1993 could wind up splintering into separate one-on-one deals between the countries _ the approach favoured by one of Trump’s closest congressional allies.

Canadian officials, meanwhile, have signalled that while they like the format as it is, they could live with multiple agreements.

Trump also told reporters at the White House that his choice for commerce secretary, billionaire businessman Wilbur Ross, will be involved in negotiations, even though trade talks are usually led by the United States trade representative.

That news could relieve some people in Ottawa. Ross is not considered among the most hawkish anti-trade members among Trump’s team.