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Prime Minister Brian Mulroney says he wants to extend Canada's free-trade zone with the United States through Mexico to South American countries such as Venezuela and Brazil.

"We think that our interests lie in more liberalized trade, and Mexico is a natural trading partner," Mulroney said in a year-end interview broadcast on CTV.

"In fact, we're looking to the hemisphere," he said. "We want trading arrangements with Venezuela and Brazil and eventually throughout this hemisphere." Mulroney, echoing recent comments by President Bush, said expanding trade agreements southward would provide economic gains.

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