Mexico sees ‘elephants in the room’ in NAFTA talks: minister

Mexico’s economy minister said on Monday a successful retool of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would hinge on two or three complex areas that he called “elephants in the room,” just days before the next round of treaty talks in Canada.

Speaking at an event in Mexico City, Ildefonso Guajardo said four chapters in the agreement could be renegotiated in the third round of talks, due to take place Sept. 23-27 in Ottawa. The areas cover smaller companies, transparency and food safety.

The “elephants,” such as the U.S. trade deficit with Mexico and rules of origin, will determine the success of the trade treaty’s renegotiation, he said. Rules of origin specify the percentage of components in a product that must be from the three NAFTA nations for it to qualify as duty free.

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