MEXICO CITY, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- Mexico must diversify its trade with Central and South America to avoid depending on the United States, its main trading partner, said an official with the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on Monday.
Taking part at a business forum in Mexico City, ECLAC's executive secretary, Alicia Barcena, said that the country was focusing on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), to the detriment of increased trade with its own region.
As an example, Barcena said Mexico could buy agricultural products from Brazil, Argentina and Chile to reduce imports from the United States, from where 70 percent of Mexican imports in the sector come from.
"Mexico is still focusing solely on the negotiation of NAFTA. I understand it, but ... there are other opportunities ... towards Central America, towards South America," said Barcena at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
Canada, the United States and Mexico have been revising since last August the NAFTA treaty at the request of U.S. President Donald Trump, who feels it has hurt American industry.
However, Barcena said NAFTA led to its members developing a linked production system and enjoying mutual investments.
"I feel it is important for Mexico to look for other trade partners as depending only on the United States makes it vulnerable," she explained.
Beyond agricultural terms, Mexico has the possibility of boosting trade with Latin America and other markets with sales of white goods, especially since Trump raised tariffs on importing washing machines in January.
She said that Mexico had made important advances in the digital realm, including in creating hardware and software, which could lead to new trade opportunities.
"I think we have to change the mentality of how to build a policy of industrialization ... but also of regional integration ... and of more modern value chains," concluded Barcena.