SALINAS: MEXICO WOULD OPPOSE REOPENING NAFTA

SALINAS: MEXICO WOULD OPPOSE REOPENING NAFTA

Mexico would oppose renegotiating parts of the North American free-trade agreement to accommodate the new Canadian government, Mexican president Carlos Salinas de Gortari said in an interview aired Friday.

''We have stated that the negotiation is concluded," Mr. Salinas said in an interview with television talk-show host David Frost for PBS.Canadian Prime Minister-elect Jean Chretien has said he wants modifications to the trade deal in areas of subsidies, anti-dumping and energy protection. Mr. Salinas said he has not heard a request from Mr. Chretian to negotiate side deals to the Nafta, similar to those President Clinton sought when he took office.

"If you open one single line of the two-thousand page text, you open everything else up for re-negotiation," Mr. Salinas said. "That is why it's so delicate to state that you are willing to open one line, because then you are willing to open the whole text."

The Nafta, which creates a free trade zone of Canada, Mexico and the United States, is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, if the three countries' legislatures ratify the deal.

Clinton administration officials said Thursday they are engaged in round- the-clock pitched battles with Congress over the Nafta but insisted the proposed trade deal with Mexico and Canada remains on track.

The administration plans to introduce implementing legislation early this week, and is meanwhile lobbying undecided lawmakers, twisting arms and cutting deals.

Nafta critics say they are within 10 solid votes of killing the treaty in a vote in the House of Representatives set for Nov. 17, while the administration insists support is ever edging its way.

Mexico has warned that the alternative to open markets might be trade wars.