Mexico threatens Argentina with WTO on car deal

  • Business
  • Friday, 23 Mar 2012

MEXICO CITY: Mexico will oppose Argentina if it tries to scrap a bilateral motor accord and even take the issue to the World Trade Organisation if the dispute escalates, according to Mexico's Economy Minister.

Argentina said this week it would seek more favourable terms in the deal that set import and export limits. In a similar move last week, Brazil won concessions limiting the number of Mexican car exports to the country.

“Mexico's position towards Argentina is totally different,” Mexico Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari told reporters. “We see nothing that would allow reopening this issue.”

Argentina's centre-left government has tightened controls on imports and foreign-exchange purchases in recent months to bolster its balance of trade, which is key to boosting international reserves used to pay debt.

The South American country wanted to modify the 2002 motor accord with Mexico, Argentina's Industry Minister Debora Giorgi said on Tuesday.

Argentina's overall exports to Mexico fell 23% last year while imports from the country jumped 39%, according to the INDEC national statistics bureau.

The Argentine trade deficit with Mexico widened to US$1.59bil in 2011 from US$590mil a year earlier. The automotive sector alone registered a US$995mil trade deficit in 2011, Giorgi's office said.

Last week, Mexico yielded to pressure to cut car sales to Brazil to an average of about US$1.55bil over the next three years, bowing to Brazilian concerns about its ailing industrial sector. Reuters

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