Unifor president Jerry Dias says he and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross have agreed that combating low Mexican wages is the key to breaking the impasse at NAFTA renegotiations.

Dias said Tuesday in Washington, D.C., that the two parties agreed that Canada and the United States have been hurt by the siphoning off of manufacturing jobs to Mexico and must work together to pressure the country to drive up wages.

Dias says he and Ross believe that a united front is needed to raise Mexican living standards and create a level playing field for workers in all three countries in order to forge a path to a new NAFTA agreement.

Unifor says other key issues addressed at the meeting between Dias and Ross included the auto sector and the imposition of duties on Canadian softwood lumber exports to the U.S.

Dias says they were unable to find common ground on softwood lumber and doesn't anticipate a resolution to the dispute any time soon.