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PM open to starting Mexico trade deal

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 3/02/2017

A bilateral agreement with Mexico could be on the cards if a multi-nation deal can't be done to replace the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Prime Minister Bill English has appeared open to discussing a bilateral agreement with Mexico after it was raised by the nation this week.

"The president has already instructed me to convert the Transpacific Association Agreement (TPP) into bilateral agreements with all countries with which we do not have free trade agreements," Mexico's economic secretary Ildefonso Guajardo told the Financial Times.

Mr English said on Friday the government was already talking to other TPP parties who are keen to "progress something" after the US pulled out of the initial agreement.

"It's in our interest generally to get a bigger agreement moved forward than to go for a whole lot of bilaterals so we'd probably want to test that option first and then think about bilaterals," he said.

"There's a real potential for our exporters in Mexico and we want to find a way to make that happen."

The US formally pulled out of the 12-nation deal on Tuesday, after President Donald Trump earlier described it as a potential disaster for his country.

TPP negotiations began in 2006 and if it had gone ahead would have covered about 40 per cent of the global economy.

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