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Mexico and Canada Throw Barbs at U.S. NAFTA Proposals

After the fourth round of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement came to a close on Tuesday, Mexico and Canada expressed sharp resistance to the modifications sought by the Trump administration.

The United States has proposed several changes to the trade agreement, most of which appear to be aimed at reducing the U.S. trade deficit. The proposals reportedly include the addition of a "sunset clause," which would require the agreement to be re-negotiated every five years. Canada is especially resistant to the addition of a sunset clause, according to CNN. Several other changes proposed by the U.S. have been roundly rejected by Canada and Mexico.

"We have seen a refusal to accept what is clearly the best text available," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told reporters during a press conference. "I am surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change."

Canadian and Mexican representatives publicly disagreed with Lighthizer's assessment. In the same news conference, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called the changes the U.S. requested "troubling" and "unconventional," CBC reports.

Mexican President Peña Nieto echoed Freeland's desire to maintain a trade agreement similar to the current version of NAFTA. "If the United States leaves," he told El Economista, "Mexico and Canada will maintain their bilateral agreement."

Negotiations will continue in Mexico City next month.