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UPDATE 1-Democrat calls for 'good faith' talks with USTR on trade deal

Jonas Ekblom

(Adds comments from Rep. Blumenauer, background)

WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) - The Democratic head of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee on Friday called for "good faith" negotiations with the Trump administration to address concerns about the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement.

The timeline for Congress to consider ratifying the deal depends on the administration's willingness to negotiate in good faith, U.S. Representative Richard Neal, chairman of the powerful committee, said in a statement after Democrats met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

"We remain committed to working diligently with Ambassador Lighthizer on this agreement. The timeline for consideration of the revised deal depends on the administration's willingness to negotiate with us in good faith to address House Democrats' concerns," Neal said.

Earl Blumenauer, the Oregon Democrat who leads the trade subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a meeting with reporters on Friday that the tone of debate about the trade agreement was far less contentious than during previous trade negotiations.

"It has been a productive three months," Blumenauer said. But he said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had made clear that she would not allow consideration of the agreement on the House floor until Democrats were satisfied with the revised deal.

"The charge we all share is to make sure that every Democrat feels that his or her interests have been heard. They may not all be satisfied," Blumenauer said.

Nearly 600 trade and commerce groups sent a letter to lawmakers this week urging quick approval of a deal they said would be a boon to the U.S. economy.

Leaders from the United States, Mexico and Canada signed the agreement in November, but it must be ratified by lawmakers in all three countries. Mexico has already ratified the deal, but House Democrats have promised to block it until their concerns over environmental, labor and pharmaceutical aspects of the agreement are met.

Blumenauer said he was encouraged by Lighthizer's past record on enforcement and said the discussions had been productive.

The Oregon Democrat has previously said he may be open to "strategically opening" the trade agreement to address very specific concerns, but was skeptical about using so-called side agreements, which he said had proven problematic in the current trade agreement among the three nations.

The congressman just returned from a trip to Mexico leading a congressional delegation. He said he returned "very impressed" by the Mexican government and its ambitions, adding: "It is clear that it is sincere." (Reporting by Jonas Ekblom and Andrea Shalal; editing by Paul Simao and Dan Grebler)