Renegotiate Nafta? Mexicans Say Get On With It

3/25/2017 New York Times

NAFTAMEXICO CITY — For more than two decades, free trade has been at the heart of Mexico’s relationship with America, responsible for pumping a stream of vehicles, audio components and avocados north and cheap corn, cattle and software south.

To the nation’s leaders, it was central, vital, nonnegotiable. At least until President Trump came along, promising to upend nearly $500 billion in annual trade between the two countries if it could not be re-engineered more in America’s favor.

Now, the Mexico’s leaders have a new priority: urging their American counterparts to hurry up and get on with it.

While free trade has long been an article of faith in Mexico, uncertainty over the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement is hitting the country hard.

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Canada, Mexico can integrate supply chain much more: minister

3/17/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoThere is plenty of scope for Mexico and Canada to deepen supply chain integration, Canada’s trade minister said on Friday, in the latest nod to boosting North American industry in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to boost jobs.

“We have a good relationship, but I do believe when you look at the supply chain in North America, we can do so much more together,” Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said at an event in the northern Mexican city of Monterrey.

“We value our political and commercial relationship with Mexico and we will work closely with Mexico to build a more prosperous North America,” he added.

Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the United States, Mexico and Canada, and has threatened to ditch it if he cannot get a better deal in his efforts to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs.

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In Trump era, some Mexican migrants head north – to Canada

3/16/2017 Reuters

visa canadaShortly after crossing the Rio Grande into the gang-infested border city of Reynosa, dozens of Mexicans deported during U.S President Donald Trump’s first days in office said they would soon try to head north again – but this time to Canada.

In a Reynosa migrant shelter, just yards from the U.S. border, 26-year-old Cenobio Rita said he had earned about $3,000 a month installing playgrounds in Richmond, Virginia, before he was deported on Feb. 15 after police found marijuana in his car.

Having left Mexico as a 14-year-old, he fretted about returning to his violent home state of Michoacan. With Trump taking a tough stance on undocumented immigrants, he ruled out a common path for many deportees – back into the United States.

“I want to go to Canada with my passport,” he said. “For those without documents, I think (the United States) is over. Now it’s Canada’s turn.”

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Trump’s Top Trade Adviser Quietly Seeks an Alliance With Mexico

3/15/2017 Bloomberg 

NAFTAPresident Donald Trump’s top trade adviser is quietly working to forge an alliance with Mexico, even as U.S. plans to build a border wall and threats to withdraw from Nafta continue to inflame tensions with its third-largest trading partner.

Peter Navarro, who as head of the White House National Trade Council will play a leading role in the effort to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, said in an interview the U.S. wants Mexico and Canada to unite in a regional manufacturing “powerhouse” that will keep out parts from other countries.

The Trump administration is re-examining a critical component of the free trade pact: the rules of origin, which dictate what percentage of a product must be manufactured in North America, Navarro said.

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US President Helps Fuel Surge in Mexican Tourism to Canada

3/14/2017 New York Times

canada flag I.A.M. photo
Photo by Flickr user I.A.M.

TORONTO — President Donald Trump loomed large in the mind of Mexico City plastic surgeon Rodrigo Munoz as he was deciding where to go for a winter ski vacation.

Munoz has skied in Nevada and New Mexico, but what he and many others perceive as Trump’s hostile posture toward Mexico made him seek out a more hospitable climate to spend his time and money. He went to the Canadian Rockies instead.

“I don’t want to go to a country that does not accept the people from my country,” Munoz said after his recent return from a weeklong trip.

Many of his fellow Mexicans share this view. Canada has seen a surge of visitors from Mexico since December, when it lifted a visa requirement that had been imposed in 2009. The change was planned before the U.S. election, but it is widely viewed as a reflection of warmer relations between Canada and Mexico. Trump, meanwhile, is pushing for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, has stepped up immigration enforcement and wants to re-negotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement, the 1994 treaty that created a closer trading relationship among the three countries of North America.

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Trump’s Nafta Revamp Could Near Boiling Point at Mexico Election

3/9/2017 Bloomberg

cast vote mexicoPresident Donald Trump’s timetable to negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement threatens to slip into an election year for Mexico, which could feel the economic impact of the uncertainty especially if the agreement starts disintegrating.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday that the trade talks will probably begin in the latter part of 2017 and shouldn’t last much longer than a year. “I would like the results tomorrow, but that is not the way the world works,” Ross said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Even at that speed — and some observers warn the negotiations could take years — the uncertainty of Nafta’s fate will likely hang over the July 2018 presidential election in Mexico, the main target of U.S. complaints.

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NEW SERIES | Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations

The Mexico Institute is pleased to announce the launch of its series, Charting a New Course: Policy Options for the Next Stage in U.S.-Mexico Relations, which reevaluates the U.S.-Mexico relationship and explores how both nations can improve upon the bilateral agenda given changes in the regional and global context. The series includes original content, including reports, videos, and more.

Browse the series