WASHINGTON, June 18 (UPI) -- U.S. trade officials said Monday Mexico would be invited to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade alliance.
"We are delighted to invite Mexico, our neighbor and second-largest export market, to join the TPP negotiations," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said.
"Mexico's interest in the TPP reflects its recognition that the TPP presents the most promising pathway to boosting trade across the Asia-Pacific and to encouraging regional trade integration. We look forward to continuing consultations with the Congress and domestic stakeholders as we move forward," Kirk said.
The group includes the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. Kirk, however, did not mention Canada or Japan, both of which have made it known that they would like to join the TPP, The Detroit News reported.
Including Japan has been opposed by U.S. automakers, who say Tokyo has been slow to open its retail market to them.
"As policymakers take a stand against unfair trade practices, they must consider Japan's notoriously closed auto market as a primary reason to disqualify them from joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership at this time," said American Automotive Policy Council President Matt Blunt, a former governor of Missouri.