With Elections to Win, One Nafta Team May Prefer to Keep Talking

02/23/2018 Bloomberg

guerrero electionFew people are cheering the prospect of several more months of Nafta talks. Mexico’s ruling party may be among that small group.

The country is cranking into campaign mode at the same time as it prepares to host the latest round of trade wrangling next week. That means Mexican negotiators have a kind of dual mandate. They have to pursue the best outcome for the nation, while keeping one eye out for their bosses in the governing PRI, which is seeking to hang on to the presidency in July’s election.

And analysts say the party’s interests won’t be best served by a Nafta deal before the vote. Renegotiation was a U.S. idea in the first place, and President Donald Trump has framed the process as a zero-sum game. Anything he’s OK with is likely to be presented as a defeat for the others.

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