Renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico will be the Trump administration's first trade priority, U.S. Commerce Secretary nominee Wilbur Ross said at his confirmation hearing. Bobbi Rebell reports.
NAFTA on the chopping block. That's what President - elect's pick for the Commerce Secretary - Wilbur Ross - said at his confirmation hearing before Congress. (SOUNDBITE) WILBUR ROSS, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE, (ENGLISH), SAYING: "NAFTA is logically the first thing for us to deal with. We ought to solidify relationships in the best way we can in our own territory before we go off to other jurisdictions. So, I think, that should be and, hopefully, will be, if I'm confirmed, a very, very early topic in this administration." The Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper reported on Wednesday that Ross already told Canadian officials that a formal request for negotiations will be sent within days of Trump's inauguration on Friday. During the same hearing, the 79-year-old billionaire investor said that China is the "most protectionist" country among large economies. (SOUNDBITE) WILBUR ROSS, U.S. COMMERCE SECRETARY NOMINEE, (ENGLISH), SAYING: "They have both very high tariff barriers and very high non-tariff trade barriers to commerce. So, they talk much more about free trade than they actually practice. We would like to the levelize that playing field and bring the realities a bit closer to the rhetoric." Ross added he plans to work with the U.S. Trade Representative and Trump's new White House International Trade Council to reduce China's high tariff and non-tariff barriers to commerce.