July 21, 2017 / 3:56 AM / a year ago

WTO better for solving U.S. trade spats than NAFTA tool - Mexico minister

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s economy minister said on Thursday the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been more effective in resolving U.S. trade disputes than the so-called Chapter 19 mechanism, which the United States hopes to ditch as part of NAFTA talks.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo gestures during an event organised by Americas Society/Council of the Americas at National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, May 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme

The United States on Monday released its goals for the talks, which aim to update the North American Free Trade Agreement that came into force in 1994.

These included a desire to ditch the Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism that has hindered the United States from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases against Mexican and Canadian firms. Canada has subsequently said it believes the mechanism must be kept as part of the NAFTA update.

Asked in a television interview on Thursday whether Mexico would be willing to agree to scrapping Chapter 19, Ildefonso Guajardo did not directly answer the question.

However, he said: “The majority of recent controversies (with the United States) ... we have won them all in the WTO, which has been for us, a much more efficient mechanism than Chapter 19 of NAFTA.”

Under Chapter 19, which Canada insisted be in NAFTA, binational panels hear complaints about illegal subsidies and dumping and then issue binding decisions.

The United States has frequently lost such cases.

Reporting by Gabriel Stargardter and Sharay Angulo; Editing by Robert Birsel

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