Heineken optimistic on NAFTA revamp, opens new Mexico brewery

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MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The world’s second largest brewer, Heineken, is optimistic that talks to revamp the NAFTA trade deal will be successful, its Americas division chief said on Tuesday after attending the opening of the firm’s seventh brewery in Mexico.

The process of getting beer from a brewery in Mexico to the United States involves a complex, cross-border supply network that could get more complicated if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through on threats to dump the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Regarding NAFTA we are moderately positive that in the end there will be arrangement found that suits” the three nations, Marc Busain, Heineken’s Americas president, told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Officials from Canada, the United States and Mexico are meeting through March 5 in Mexico City for the seventh round of talks to renegotiate NAFTA. The trade deal underpins some $1.2 trillion in trilateral trade.

Heineken’s new $500 million brewery in Mexico’s northern Chihuahua state, which borders the United States, will produce Tecate, Dos Equis and Heineken for the Mexican domestic market and for exports.

“We chose the location because of its proximity to the U.S. and given the importance of the export business of Tecate and Dos Equis to the U.S.,” said Busain.

Mexican brewers have been building up capacity. Beer maker Grupo Modelo, the maker of Corona beer and a unit of global top brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, is planning to invest 14 billion Mexican pesos ($744 million) in a brewing and bottling plant in the central state of Hidalgo.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito; Editing by Sandra Maler