March 17, 2017 / 8:28 PM / 6 months ago

Canada, Mexico can integrate supply chain much more: minister

Canada's International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne attends a meeting with members of the Canada-Mexico Chamber of Commerce in San Pedro Garza Garcia, on the outskirts of Monterrey, Mexico March 17, 2017. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

MONTERREY, Mexico (Reuters) - There is plenty of scope for Mexico and Canada to deepen supply chain integration, Canada’s trade minister said on Friday, in the latest nod to boosting North American industry in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to boost jobs.

“We have a good relationship, but I do believe when you look at the supply chain in North America, we can do so much more together,” Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said at an event in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.

“We value our political and commercial relationship with Mexico and we will work closely with Mexico to build a more prosperous North America,” he added.

Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada, and has threatened to ditch it if he cannot get a better deal in his efforts to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs.

Mexican and U.S. officials have said changing the rules in NAFTA to increase the local content requirement for certain goods could form an important part of a renegotiated accord.

The U.S. president is preparing to submit his plan to renegotiate NAFTA to the U.S. Congress, and could call for bilateral talks that risk putting Mexico and Canada at a disadvantage.

Officials have said talks on reworking the pact could begin from the summer onwards. On Thursday, Champagne said that Canada is committed to keeping NAFTA a trilateral accord.

Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Editing by Sandra Maler

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