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Mesa Mayor John Giles says US ‘can’t play games’ with NAFTA

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LISTEN: Mesa Mayor John Giles talks NAFTA

PHOENIX — Mesa Mayor John Giles said Thursday the United States should be looking to solidify the North American Free Trade Agreement, not fire shots in a war of words that could threaten a deal he felt has worked in Arizona’s benefit.

“NAFTA has been very good for Arizona. … We can’t play games with this very, very important relationship,” Giles said Thursday on KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

According to the Arizona-Mexico Commission, trade between the two amounted to $15.7 billion in 2016.

“We need to double down and do everything we can to improve and increase our trade with Mexico, not do or say things that might threaten that.”

Giles, Phoenix’s Greg Stanton and Glendale’s Jerry Weiers have been in Washington, D.C. this week attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

“We had a great meeting, Mayor Stanton and I, with the ambassador to the United States from Mexico,” Giles said. “There’s this huge, growing middle class in Mexico that wants to be part of the e-commerce economy.”

Giles’ city will soon be home to SkyBridge Arizona, a facility that will employ Mexican customs officials and serve as a hub for online purchases heading from the United States to Mexico.

“It’s really going to put our region and frankly, the whole state, on the map in terms of commerce in and out of Mexico and all of Latin America,” Giles said.

Negotiations were underway in Montreal, Canada, that could revise NAFTA, but officials were optimistic a deal would be struck before President Donald Trump’s March deadline.

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