Will the U.S. Add Latin America Countries to NAFTA?

Secretary of State John Kerry says he could envision a wider pact beyond NAFTA that includes

The United States Secretary of State John Kerry told CNN Espanol last weekend that he has instructed his staff to explore the possibility of deepening the trade links with Latin America and that he is exploring the idea of setting up a wider regional trade pact with Latin America in the future. Kerry told the network's Andres Oppenheimer and the Miami Herald that he could foresee a wider pact beyond the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which groups the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"I believe we could look to a stronger set of initiatives between Canada, the United States, Mexico particularly, and the rest of Latin America. We could do more within the hemisphere," said Kerry.

The United States already also has economic ties with 12 nations in Latin America, he said, adding "we're very strongly connected. We have six different trade agreements that constitute those 12 countries including the Caribbean. We're going to try to do our due diligence on this, and I'm really hopeful... I would like to see us try to get something in place."

Kerry was speaking before he left for a visit to Vietnam and the Philippines seen as part of U.S. moves to strengthen plans for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Washington is also negotiating what is billed as the world's largest free trade accord with the European Union, known as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

Kerry said both deals were "critical," adding that "for all of us, our future economy, economic growth and development are going to rely on moving both to Europe and to the Pacific."

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