Mexico wants “wins” in NAFTA renegotiation
Mexico's economy minister says NAFTA talks must lead to "certain victories" and calls it "illogical" to impose import taxes
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has urged for a
deeper dialogue between the US and Mexico that leads to
"certain victories" on both sides of the border.
"Mexico needs to be part of the solution and prove we are
not part of the problem," Guajardo said at
LatinFinance’s 12th Cumbre Financiera
Mexicana in Mexico City on Thursday.
Latin America’s second-largest economy has
endured heightened volatility in the financial markets since US
President Donald Trump won the election in November. Now, as
Mexico and the US face a diplomatic standoff over trade,
immigration and a proposed border wall, Guajardo has urged that
any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
provide "wins" for the three member nations.
"[NAFTA] is three countries with different developments in
the production sector," he said. "It is very clear that it is
necessary to transform NAFTA to be at the level of global
changes within the three economies. NAFTA has to be conducted
under a formula where Canada and Mexico both have some
He added, however, that it will not be easy to make changes
to NAFTA. The more than 10,000 original rules in the trade
agreement could be put forward at the renegotiating table, but
the purpose of the talks is to "strengthen the original
Guajardo also said Mexico will not enter any discussions on
trade without a backup plan. "No negotiator will sit at the
table without a Plan B. If you don’t have a [Plan
B], you will be damaged, simple," he said. "If there is
pressure at the table, it will hurt competitiveness in the
The minister has told local press that Mexico's Plan B could
involve levying a tax on US imports. Guajardo said he expects
the negotiations to begin in the summer and finish by the end
of the year.
Until then, the first thing Mexico can do is "mitigate
uncertainty," he said. "Time is of the essence... We have to be
clear about this process."
Trump has threatened to impose a 20% tax on Mexican imports
to the US as a way to fund construction of a border wall. But
Guajardo said it is "illogical" to open the "Pandora's box" of
trade tariffs, adding that any analysis of US-Mexico trade
needs to focus on strengthening NAFTA.
Guajardo also said that "tweets have consequences in the
market, even though they are not public policy elements,"
referring to Trump publicizing policy points on social media
platforms like Twitter.
Mexico sends about 80% of its exports to the US. Bilateral
trade between the two countries is worth some $500bn.