U.S.-Mexico trade talks could address labor, energy

Wed Nov 14, 2012 3:17pm EST
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* Envoy says TPP talks 'back door' way to upgrade NAFTA

* Sees 'window of opportunity' for U.S. immigration reform

* Says TPP pact will bind together 'thinking axis'

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) - The United States and Mexico could soon tackle controversial areas, such as energy policy and cross-border movement of workers, not included in the 1992 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico's ambassador to the United States said on Wednesday.

"There were many things that were left off the table because ... they were politically undoable at the time," Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan said at the Inter-American Dialogue, a foreign policy think tank.

But Mexico and Canada's entry into U.S.-led talks on a regional free trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific gives the three NAFTA partners an opportunity to revisit the landmark trade deal.

The United States pushed in the NAFTA talks for reforms to open up Mexico's energy sector "and we said 'no can do,'" Sarukhan said.

Similarly, Mexico wanted changes to make easier for workers to cross the border to take jobs in the United States and "the U.S. said 'no can do,'" he said.   Continued...