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German firms more upbeat on Mexico, wary on NAFTA collapse-survey

MEXICO CITY, Dec 5 (Reuters) - German companies are more upbeat about the business outlook in Mexico than they were a year ago, but more than two-thirds believe that an end to the NAFTA trade deal would hurt their business there, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The poll by the German-Mexican chamber of industry and commerce (CAMEXA) showed that more companies planned to invest and increase staffing than they did when surveyed a year ago, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump's election victory.

Some 54.6 percent of firms said they would boost staffing levels in 2018, a rise of nearly 10 percentage points from a year earlier. Almost 68 percent said they planned investment in the coming year, an increase of some 6 percentage points.

The survey, which was carried out at the end of November, showed that 69 percent of firms believed that a collapse in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have a negative impact on their business in Mexico.

A total of 130 companies took part, CAMEXA said.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he cannot rework it to the advantage of the United States.

Negotiations between the United States, Mexico and Canada to rework NAFTA have made only halting progress so far, and many major points of disagreement remain with the Trump administration seeking to promote his America First agenda.

The three nations have vowed to continue talks to overhaul the almost 24-year-old trade deal through March, when the Mexican 2018 presidential campaign begins in earnest. (Reporting by Dave Graham; Editing by Andrew Hay)