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DUFF & PHELPS RESPONDS TO THE APPROVAL OF NAFTA

 NEW YORK, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- The affirmative vote on the North American Free Trade Agreement is an important milestone for both the United States and Mexico and supports the Duff & Phelps assessment of Mexico's credit rating, the credit rating agency said today.
 Duff & Phelps became the first rating agency to provide an investment grade rating for Mexico in May 1993, when it rated a three- year yen-denominated deal from the United Mexican States as "BBB" (Triple-B).
 The Duff & Phelps rating for Mexico reflects the nation's fundamental strengths and policies rather than the trade agreement contained in NAFTA itself. Nevertheless, the success of NAFTA strengthens Mexico's prospects for sustaining economic growth and maintaining stability in its financial markets, said David Roberts, group vice president for sovereign ratings at Duff & Phelps.
 "The passage of this historic agreement not only confirms the foresight of Mexico's political commitment to a forward-looking trade system, but also emphasizes the willingness of the United States to open trade with Mexico and other nations," Roberts said.
 "The passage of NAFTA by the House of Representatives underlines the importance of free trade to both the United States and Mexico. The development of an open trade system is a critical component of the health and development of the international markets," Roberts continued.
 Duff & Phelps will continue to monitor Mexico with the expectation that Mexico's strong fundamental policies will be strengthened by NAFTA's passage.
 The Duff & Phelps sovereign debt rating for Mexico is "BBB" (Triple-B) until 1996, "BBB-" (Triple-B-Minus) from 1996 through 1999, and "BB+" (Double-B-Plus) beyond the year 2000. These ratings reflect the Duff & Phelps view that credit risks for Mexico are meaningfully lower over the near term than over the longer term. Mexico has made substantial progress in reducing inflation, restoring fiscal balance, and putting in place an internationally competitive economy.
 -0- 11/18/93
 /CONTACT: David L. Roberts of Duff & Phelps Credit Rating Co., 212-908-0200/


CO: Duff & Phelps ST: New York IN: SU:

TW -- NY032 -- 5951 11/18/93 10:47 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 18, 1993
Words:334
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