MEXICO CITY Sheldrick Redwine Jersey , Sept. 28 (Xinhua) -- U.S. negotiators are likely to table more aggressive proposals in the future concerning North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations, despite progress made in the third round of the trilateral talks, the Mexican business sector warned Thursday.
Canada, the United States and Mexico concluded the four-day third round of NAFTA renegotiation on Wednesday in Ottawa, Canada and later made a joint statement.
Negotiators from the three countries made progress in several areas through the consolidation of text proposals, narrowing gaps and agreeing to elements of the negotiated text, said the statement.
"Meaningful advancements were made in the areas of telecommunications, competition policy, digital trade, good regulatory practices, and customs and trade facilitation," said the joint statement.
The third round of talks also saw advances in areas including the development of small and medium enterprises.
However, the statement made no mention of some of tough issues facing the negotiators, including rules of origin and Chapter 19 for dispute resolution.
Mexico's main business association, Coparmex, said in a statement that the aggressive proposals of the United States reflected the stance of President Donald Trump.
Coparmex is part of the group of advisors of the Mexican government during the NAFTA talks. In its statement, the association recognizes the importance of NAFTA for Mexico's economic stability and development, while supporting its modernization.
"This implies that all sides are ready to make certain concessions, but ... not ... to the detriment of an economic sector, if they establish trade barriers or imply a direct impairment of regional competitiveness," said Coparmex President Gustavo de Hoyos.
Holding the same view, Mexican Finance Secretary Jose Meade said Wednesday in an interview with Mexican mess media Televisa that further tensions might well lie ahead after the third round of renegotiation of the commercial agreement.
"It is natural ... as the rounds (of talks) advance, tensions and difficulties begin to appear," said Meade.
He vowed that the Mexican government would continue working to secure NAFTA as a mechanism for further regional integration that benefits all three countries.
"We have time, (though) there will certainly be subjects that generate tensions," added Meade.
He also pointed out that as the United States has maintained its positions in the talks, Mexico as well as Canada also remained firm in its intention.
The United States, Canada and Mexico wrapped up the first round of NAFTA in August. At the end the first round, a joint statement from the three parties indicated negotiations may be increasingly tense and difficult over the coming few months.
The fourth round of talks is scheduled for Oct. 11-15 in Washington.
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File photo taken on July 13, 2017 shows U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price (R) speaking at a news conference at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C., theUnited States. U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned on Sept. 29, said theWhite House. (XinhuaYin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price resigned on Friday amid increasing fire over his frequent and expensive private jet trips, becoming the first cabinet secretary to leave the Donald Trump administration.
Price offered his resignation on Friday and President Donald Trump accepted it, White House Press Secretary said in a statement.
"The President intends to designate Don J. Wright of Virginia to serve as Acting Secretary, effective at 11:59 p.m. on September 29, 2017," the statement said. Wright currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.
Price has been under heavy fire since U.S. media outlets found he had flown on at least 26 private flights since May, including five domestic flights within one week this month.
He apologized on Thursday, saying he will pay a portion of the costs of his official travelling on private charter planes and will permanently halt his use of charter flights for official business as the health secretary.
However, the total cost of the private jets Price flew on was reportedly more than 400,000 U.S. dollars and Price would pay only 51,887.31 U.S. dollars for his seat on those planes, according to an HHS spokesperson.
Price is not covering the cost for his staffers who flew with him on those charter planes, said the spokesperson on Thursday.
Many of Price's flights were between major cities that offered inexpensive alternatives on commercial airlines. One leg was from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia, a distance of some 130 miles (208 kilometers).
Moreover, on some of those trips, Price reportedly mixed official business with personal affairs such as having a lunch with his son.
On Wednesday, Trump said he was not happy with Price's priv
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