March 5, 2018 / 3:06 PM / a year ago

NAFTA negotiators conclude talks on food safety: source

NAFTA banner is pictured inside a hotel where the seventh round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada takes place, in Mexico City, Mexico March 3, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Negotiators from the United States, Canada and Mexico successfully concluded discussions on rules governing food safety and animal health under a revised NAFTA trade deal, a Mexican source familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The chapter on so-called sanitary and phytosanitary measures, which addresses food standards as well as animal and plant hygiene, was agreed by the three sides late on Sunday, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The agreement came just before ministers from the three nations are due to meet in Mexico City to take stock of progress in efforts to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The conclusion of the chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary measures is a rare indication of concrete progress at the sluggish talks, and follows agreement between the NAFTA partners on good regulatory practices earlier in the round.

Tensions at the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations were ramped up last week by U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to slap tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of NAFTA, which underpins more than $1 trillion worth of trilateral trade in the region, if it is not recast to his liking.

Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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