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Mexican business sector rejects replacing NAFTA with bilateral trade deals
Last Updated: 2018-06-06 10:11 | Xinhua
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Mexico's influential Business Coordination Council (CCE) on Tuesday rejected a possible U.S. move to make separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Speaking at a conference of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Mexico City, CCE President Juan Pablo Castanon insisted that a trilateral agreement was the most desirable outcome.

"We believe that (seeking) the synergies which can exist among the three countries is the best we can do for the region's competitiveness," the CCE leader said.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump suggested he would prefer to scrap NAFTA altogether and seek two bilateral agreements with Canada and Mexico separately.

White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday that Trump is seriously considering this possibility.

In response, Castanon said that continuing with NAFTA would make the region "the most competitive in the world." "Due to this, we insist there must be a trilateral negotiation," he added.

He also said that the recent tariffs between the United States and Mexico could severely harm NAFTA negotiations, especially as they are currently moving towards their closing stages.

The United States, Mexico and Canada have been renegotiating NAFTA since August 2017, as Trump has slammed it for harming the U.S. economy.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced Thursday that U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports would be applied to the European Union, Canada and Mexico from June 1.

Mexico responded with similar measures on Tuesday, targeting the American steel, aluminum and agricultural sectors, at an estimated economic cost of 3 billion U.S. dollars.

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