Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday that there have been “very important developments” in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was created and approved in 1994 by three countries – the United States, Mexico and Canada. The Mexican minister however cautioned that the renegotiations there is much still to be done to complete a satisfactory renegotiation.
Guajardo, who is the head of Mexico’s negotiating team, told reporters on the sidelines of an academic event that there are diverging views of the partner countries of NAFTA – Mexico, Canada and the United States on many issues that still have to be ironed out through negotiations.
Amongst the most contentious of such issues is the demand by the US to make the rules of origin in the automobile sector much stricter. This proposal by the US is being vehemently opposed by both Canada and Mexico.
Through negotiations on this contentious issue, a counter proposal to the US has been made by Mexico and the US has reportedly made alterations and modifications to its original demands. Guajardo said therefore that both of those proposals are being looked at and debated by negotiators meeting in Washington over the past two weeks.
“In two weeks there have been very important developments in balancing out several topics of interest on the table in regard to Mexico and the United States, from a trade perspective,” Guajardo said.
“The thing is that there are many topics on the table,” said Guajardo, who added he plans to travel to Washington this week to check on the progress of the talks.
“There are automotive rules of origin, there are rules in the fiber optics sector, there are rules in steel, and we are reviewing the whole package of regulations,” said Guajardo.
The NAFTA is a free trade agreement and has been opposed by US president Donald Trump since his campaigning for the presidential elections. Trump claims that the terms and conditions of the agreement are counter productive for the manufacturing sector in the US. In August of 2017, Trump urged the other two trade partners to renegotiate the deal or threatened of pulling the US out of the agreement. The process of renegotiating the NAFTA deal was started after that proposal from the US president.
Guajardo made these comments during an inaugural function for a new postgraduate degree in international trade negotiation at the prestigious Colegio de Mexico in Mexico.
(Adapted from Xinhuanet.com)