U.S. carmaker lobby wants rules of origin left intact in NAFTA talks

The Honda logo is seen on a new Civic model on a dealer's lot in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A powerful U.S.-based automakers group said on Tuesday that it favors keeping rules of origin intact in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), echoing comments from its Mexican counterpart.

Under the trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada, rules of origin stipulate that products must meet minimum regional, or NAFTA-wide, content requirements to be tariff-free.

“We believe the NAFTA rule of origin, which establishes the highest threshold of any free trade agreement the U.S. has ever negotiated, should remain intact,” Annemarie Pender, spokeswoman for the Association of Global Automakers, told Reuters.

The trade group represents Honda Motor Co 7267.T, Nissan Motor Co Ltd 7201.T, Hyundai Motor Co 005380.KS and other major foreign automakers in the United States.

The president of the Mexican automakers’ association said on Monday that the auto industries of the United States, Canada and Mexico agreed there should be no changes to rules of origin, describing them as key to creating value and integrating the auto industry in North America.

Last week the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump triggered a 90-day consultation period with Congress, industries and the American public that would allow talks over NAFTA to begin by Aug. 16.

Mexican officials have said that the rules of origin could be modified when the 23-year old trade pact is renegotiated.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Writing by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Phil Berlowitz