MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Thursday expressed optimism about NAFTA talks that have been thrown into disarray by a U.S. probe exploring auto tariffs, while a source said Mexico had made a new offer to seek a deal.
The Mexican leader said he spoke with his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau late Thursday about reworking the 24-year-old pact that underpins Mexico’s economy, and that the trade partners would keep close communication.
“He remains optimistic about achieving a Free Trade Agreement that benefits the three countries,” said a statement from Pena Nieto’s office.
Differences over how to reconfigure the auto industry have slowed progress on retooling the North American Free Trade Agreement, with Mexico showing some flexibility but refusing to completely meet U.S. demands.
On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration said it would examine whether car and truck imports from around the world harm its auto industry, a move that may lead to new tariffs on exports to the world’s second-largest auto market.
One Trump official said the investigation was partly aimed at yielding NAFTA concessions from trade partners Mexico and Canada.
Pena Nieto’s spokesman on Thursday had said Mexico would not buckle to pressure to conclude the long-stalled renegotiation.
“Mexico is not going to negotiate on the basis of pressure, Mexico is very clear about what works and what doesn’t work for us,” said Pena Nieto’s spokesman, Eduardo Sanchez.
“If an agreement is reached, it will be one that truly benefits Mexico. If these conditions don’t