USMCA does not impact bilateral agreement: Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray

Although U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had termed a provision of the USMCA as a “poison pill”, Mexico and China have agreed to interpret it differently: they have emphasized that it does not impact bilateral trade relations between countries that are not part of the USMCA.

According to statement issued by Mexico’s Foreign Minister, Luis Videgaray, the country’s Foreign Minister told his Chinese counterpart in a phone call that Mexico’s new trade deal with Washington and Toronto will not impede economic relations with other countries.

The accord, set to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), states that if one of the partners enters a free trade deal with a “non-market” country, such as China, the others can quit in six months and form their own bilateral accord.

The provision essentially is aimed at isolating China economically midst an escalating trade war with the United States; it provides Washington a veto power to block any potential trade deal that Mexico and Canada could enter with China in the future.

Although Videgaray did not detail whether Mexico would seek an economic deal with China, he however stated, the agreement, U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), would not block bilateral accords with countries not included in the deal.

“Videgaray emphasized that none of its conditions constitute an obstacle for bilateral relations or economic exchanges that Mexico, as a sovereign state, maintains with other nations,” said Videgaray, according to the statement.

According to a statement posted by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on its website, China’s Wang Yi termed China’s and Mexico relation as an “all-round strategic partners”; he went on to note that both countries had understood, supported, and trusted each other on major matters.

“Any bilateral and multilateral free trade agreements should not be directed against third parties, nor restrict other members’ legitimate rights and interests, and further, should not be exclusionary,” said a statement from China.

Earlier, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has termed the provision in the USMCA as a “poison pill”.

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