TORONTO  - Toronto Dominion Bank (TD.TO) Chief Executive Bharat Masrani said recent rhetoric and moves towards protectionism were troubling and he hoped talks over a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement would succeed.

"My hope is that the merits of this partnership prevail – so we can look for ways to make NAFTA even better for each country," he told shareholders at the company's annual meeting on Thursday.

Masrani said he recognized a need to modernize the trade agreement between Canada, the United States and Mexico, but not to eliminate it.

"Each country has undergone significant changes since the trade agreement was implemented," he said.

Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator said on Wednesday there is still "quite a bit of work" to be done at the three-nation talks to modernize the agreement, which was implemented 25 years ago.