August 28, 2018 / 3:08 AM / 3 months ago

Mexico minister says would tweak bilateral U.S. trade deal without Canada

MEXICO CITY, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday that the trade accord it announced on Monday with the United States would have to be tweaked, particularly regarding rules of origin, if it ends up as a bilateral agreement without Canada.

Guajardo said in an interview on Mexican radio that Mexico’s preference was for Canada to remain in the three-nation pact, but if it opted out some parts of Monday’s deal would have to be redesigned such as auto content rules.

“The whole issue of rules of origin is considered trilaterally, so if we go forward with a bilateral model it would need to be rethought,” he said. “It’s not the same having integration between three countries as two.”

The United States and Mexico agreed on Monday to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), putting pressure on Canada to agree to new terms on auto trade and dispute settlement rules to remain part of the pact.

The Mexico-U.S. discussions focused on crafting new rules for the automotive industry, which Trump has put at the heart of his drive to rework a pact he has repeatedly described as a “disaster” for American workers. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Michael Perry)

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