MEXICO ASKING U.S. RETAILERS TO DELAY RULE OF ORIGIN TALKS

Byline:

WASHINGTON--Mexican government officials are trying to persuade the U.S. retail community to drop its quest for a special provision in the proposed Mexican loan guarantee bill in exchange for separate negotiations on the matter, an industry source said Monday.
The retailers want to attach a provision to the bill that would change Mexico's troublesome certificate of origin rule for imports. Mexico demands the original documentation accompany these imports, providing a headache for retailers shipping foreign-made goods from U.S. warehouses to their Mexican stores, as this documentation is routinely taken by U.S. Customs.
An agreement on the separate negotiations could be reached today, the source said.
The future of the $40 billion loan guarantee package, however, remains clouded, as House Republican leaders continued their drumbeat Monday demanding that President Clinton convince a skeptical U.S. public that Congress must pass the controversial package.
House Democrats, at the same time, are insisting the package include provisions to require higher wages for Mexican workers, and one Democratic staffer predicted if such provisions aren't included, a majority of House Democrats would vote against the loan guarantee.
House Republican leaders met Monday afternoon with Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan to hear the administration's case once again on the need for Congress to act swiftly on the package.

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