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Exclusive - U.S. Commerce's Ross says anti-China trade deal clause may be replicated

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Exclusive - U.S. Commerce's Ross says anti-China trade deal clause may be replicated
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross answers questions during an interview with Reuters in his office at the U.S. Department of Commerce building in Washington, U.S., October 5, 2018. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert   -   Copyright  MARY F. CALVERT(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Friday that a “poison pill” provision to deter trade deals with China in the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade pact may be replicated in future U.S. trade deals, such as those with Japan and the European Union.

Ross told Reuters in an interview that the provision was “a move to try to close loopholes” in trade deals that have served to “legitimize” China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial subsidy practices.

Ross also said he did not expect much movement on China trade talks until after the Nov. 6 mid-term congressional elections.

Under the new anti-China trade provision, if any of the three countries in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement enters a trade deal with a “non-market country,” the other two are free to quit in six months and form their own bilateral trade deal. “It’s logical, it’s a kind of a poison pill,” Ross said.

Asked if the provision would be replicated in future trade deals, Ross said: “We shall see. It certainly helps that we got it with Mexico and with Canada, independently of whether we get it with anyone else.”

He added, however, that with a precedent now set, it becomes easier for the provision to be added to other trade deals. “People can come to understand that this is one of your prerequisites to make a deal,” he said.

(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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