June 4, 2018 / 2:55 PM / a year ago

Mexico's central bank chief sees risk from protectionism to economy: paper

FILE PHOTO - Mexico's central Bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon Carrillo speaks during an interview with Reuters on the sidelines of the Mexican Banking Association's annual convention in Acapulco, Mexico March 9, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Romero

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Protectionist trade measures could hit Mexican economic growth and inflation, Mexico’s central bank governor said in comments published by newspaper Reforma on Monday, in the wake of U.S. import tariffs on Mexico, Canada and the European Union.

Mexico now faces new tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum after temporary exemptions expired, prompting Latin America’s second biggest economy to slap tariffs on U.S. products such as pork and cheeses.

“It’s an element of risk, the fact that protectionist measures are beginning to spread and that it generates a less favorable environment for international trade,” Mexico Central Bank Governor Alejandro Diaz de Leon said.

“The fact of this risk - which is already materializing in some actions against international trade - is an element of worry due to its influence on the side of growth and on the side of inflation,” he added.

The flurry of tariff hikes come as talks drag on among Mexico, Canada and the United States to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Marguerita Choy

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