Washington — Fifty years ago in California, Jimi Hendrix poured lighter fluid on his Fender Stratocaster and, in a scene seared into music iconography, knelt and watched as the guitar — from American rock ’n’ roll’s most cherished brand — burned. The truth is, however, that for about half of its 63-year existence, those guitars have to a large extent been manufactured in Mexico. And as US, Mexican and Canadian officials open talks in Washington on Wednesday on revamping the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, the Mexican-made Stratocaster stands as an example of how liberalised trade has encouraged seamless cross-border supply chains — which may be almost impossible to undo. Unlike major car makers benefiting from Nafta, the half-billion-dollar US guitar industry does not employ hundreds of thousands of workers who ship billions in product. Still, in common with the bigger manufacturers, guitar makers like Fender, CF Martin & Co, and Taylor have turned to Mexico as a source of...

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