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Mexico and the US are moving to begin a formal 90-day process of parallel consultations with the private sector and other key interest groups in their countries prior to the start of talks on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement that Mexican officials expect to begin in May.

The Mexican foreign and economy ministries said in a statement that the 90 days would kick off once the US government began its own consultation period. It was not immediately clear whether the US government had informed Congress that it was starting consultations, writes Jude Webber in Mexico City.

The US president has so-called “fast track”, or Trade Promotion Agreement, faculties granted by Congress. Under TPA rules, the two sides cannot begin trade talks until the consultation period has finished. Mexican officials said they expected Nafta talks to begin in May.

“The consultation period is indispensable to achieve a modernisation of Nafta in the national interest,” the two ministries said in a statement.

“This should give us a very solid basis to begin dialogue,” Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

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