Mexico says NAFTA rules of origin may be toothless

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico's top diplomat says his country is willing to discuss regional-content requirements during re-negotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said some countries may get around the rules of origin by simply paying import tariffs.

Videgaray spoke Thursday at a business forum in Japan. Talks on recasting the 1994 NAFTA accord are scheduled to start Aug. 16.

A transcript of his remarks published in Mexico notes currents rules let TV manufacturers use less than 30 percent North American content.

He said if that is raised, it must be done in a way that keep regional production competitive.

Videgaray said "it doesn't make much sense to have a big discussion over rules of origin, if companies can simply pay a tariff of 2.5 percent."

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