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NAFTA renegotiations to resume in Washington

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Ildefonso Guajardo (ians)20180719121252_l

Mexico City, July 19 (IANS) Talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will restart on July 26 in Washington, Mexico Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has said.

"The three countries are resuming negotiations," Guajardo told the media on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Negotiators from Mexico, the US and Canada will be present at the talks.

"We will begin with a bilateral (meeting) between Mexico and the US, before other meetings with Canada," explained the minister.

Guajardo dismissed the request made on Monday by the US to the World Trade Organization (WTO), to begin discussions with Mexico over the retaliatory tariffs, applied by Mexico on US products, that could hinder negotiations.

NAFTA renegotiations began in August last year after demands made by the Donald Trump (US President) administration. Trump believes the deal to be the worst his country has ever signed and has threatened to abandon it.

The negotiating teams had hoped to reach an "agreement in principle" at the beginning of May, but talks were suspended after disagreements between Mexico and Canada over demands made by the US.

Guajardo also said that the 13th Summit of the Pacific Alliance offered Mexico a great opportunity for market diversification.

However, the Mexican minister added that the summit, to be held between July 21-24 at the Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta, is independent to the relationship between Mexico and the US.

"The Pacific Alliance has been a very effective mechanism to relaunch a position as a modern Latin America, which is now open to associated members," he said.

The Pacific Alliance is a regional trade bloc in Latin America, formed by Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

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