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HSBC's Canadian boss 'concerned' by NAFTA talks

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HSBC's Canadian boss 'concerned' by NAFTA talks

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By Matt Scuffham TORONTO (Reuters) – HSBC Holdings’ <HSBA.L> Canadian chief said on Tuesday she is concerned about talks to rework the North American Free Trade Agreement and preparing for how the bank will deal with possible outcomes. U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the NAFTA trade agreement with Canada and Mexico if he cannot rework it in favour of the United States. His negotiating team has set proposals that have alarmed their Canadian and Mexican counterparts. Among the most divisive are plans to establish rules of origin for NAFTA goods that would set minimum levels of U.S. content for autos, a sunset clause that would terminate the trade deal if it is not renegotiated every five years, and ending the so-called Chapter 19 dispute mechanism. “The discussions around the free trade agreement I would say right now are concerning,” HSBC Canada Chief Executive Sandra Stuart told Reuters. “We’ve done an analysis of our book. We know where we are sensitive in terms of the NAFTA agreement and customers know their sensitivities as well.” Stuart said, however, that she expected a deal to be reached and was comfortable with the bank’s exposure to businesses that could be affected. “We’ve thought through potential scenarios but it’s very manageable for us in terms of what we think the outcomes are going to be,” she said. HSBC Canada is looking to grow in Canada by using its global reach to provide clients with access to global markets and help facilitate cross-border trade.

(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Dan Grebler)
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