Mexico says Nafta talks separate from Trump's tariffs policy

The Nafta banner is pictured inside a hotel where the seventh round of Nafta talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada takes place, in Mexico City, on March 2, 2018.
The Nafta banner is pictured inside a hotel where the seventh round of Nafta talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada takes place, in Mexico City, on March 2, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

MEXICO CITY (REUTERS) - Talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) should not be subject to outside pressure, Mexico's economy ministry said in a statement on Thursday (March 8), and will proceed independent of US President Donald Trump's tariff policy.

Trump announced on Thursday that tariffs on steel and aluminium imports will start in 15 days with initial exemptions for Canada and Mexico and the possibility of alternatives for other countries.

Trump linked the exemptions for Canada and Mexico to progress on renegotiating Nafta to favour the United States.

"The process to negotiate a modernized NAFTA continues its course, independent of the (metal tariffs) or any other internal policy measure that the government of the United States takes," the Mexican statement said.

The statement doubled-down on similar comments earlier on Thursday that Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo made prior to Trump's announcement.