Why a Newly Confident Mexico Is in No Rush to Renegotiate NAFTA

2/24/2017 Fortune Magazine

DonaldTrumpPinataMexico is increasingly confident that U.S. President Donald Trump will not be able to impose harsh barriers on imports anytime soon, and officials signaled they may hit their northern neighbor’s most trade-sensitive districts in case he does.

Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada, but talks cannot begin until he triggers a 90-day notice period by informing Congress. Nominees for several important U.S. posts including trade representative and agriculture secretary have not yet been confirmed.

“As long as our counterparts in Washington don’t define their objectives … today NAFTA regulates trade, so we are not in a hurry to change anything,” Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said at an event on Thursday.

The view of some Mexican officials and business leaders that the U.S. Congress, Supreme Court and some state governors are counterweights to Trump has also been reflected in markets, with the peso rallying in recent days to its strongest since Trump’s election in November.

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As Kelly and Tillerson Visit Mexico, Their Reassurances Differ From Trump’s Stance

2/23/2017 The New York Times

 

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via Getty Images – Ronaldo Schemidt/Agence France-Presse

MEXICO CITY — In the White House, President Trump was telling American chief executives on Thursday that the days of being treated unfairly by Mexico — on trade, on immigration, on crime — were over.

 

“You see what’s happening at the border: All of a sudden, for the first time, we’re getting gang members out,” Mr. Trump said, referring to his instructions to increase deportations of undocumented immigrants. “And it’s a military operation.”

But in Mexico, his homeland security secretary, John F. Kelly, was saying the opposite, trying to tamp down fears of a military operation and to assure the public that American soldiers would not be used to police the border.

“I repeat: There will be no use of military in this,” Mr. Kelly said at a news conference on Thursday, appearing with Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson. “At least half of you try to get that right, because it continues to come up in your reporting.”

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On NAFTA and Mexico, Trump Faces a Balancing Act

2/22/2017 U.S. News & World Report

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via AP – Dario Lopez-Mills

President George W. Bush’s former commerce secretary acknowledged Wednesday that the North American Free Trade Agreement “should be updated,” but said that abandoning the deal entirely and antagonizing Mexico may amount to a temporary “tactical victory” that down the road would be remembered as a “strategic defeat.”

Carlos Gutierrez, who opened a panel discussion Wednesday hosted by the Atlantic Council in Washington, avoided criticizing President Donald Trump’s administration directly. But the onetime CEO of the Kellogg Co. warned that hard-line approaches to NAFTA and to America’s broader relationship with Mexico have elicited “anxiety” and anti-U.S. sentiment from America’s southern neighbor.

“I think what we need to understand – and I trust that our government here in the U.S. will understand this – we cannot humiliate a country to the bargaining table,” Gutierrez said. “Maybe in business you can, because it’s all about the bottom line. But you can’t quantify national pride. You can’t quantify national dignity, and that’s what’s at stake here. It’s going to be extremely difficult for Mexico to do anything but take a combative response.”

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Mexico bristles at ‘hostile’ Trump deportation rules before U.S. talks

2/23/2017 Reuters

luis videgarayMexico reacted with anger on Wednesday to what one official called “hostile” new U.S. immigration guidelines hours before senior Trump administration envoys began arriving in Mexico City for talks on the volatile issue.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security unveiled plans on Tuesday to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, and will seek to send many of them to Mexico if they entered the United States from there, regardless of nationality.

The tension over the timing of the rules mirrors an outcry when President Donald Trump said on Twitter Mexico should pay for his planned border wall shortly before Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto was due at a Washington summit in January.

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Trump Trade Threat Is New Opening for Tighter Mexico-China Ties

2/21/2017 Bloomberg

mexico-chinaMexico is in for some painful restructuring if U.S. President Donald Trump follows through with his protectionist threats.

But the nation also faces a unique opportunity to reduce its reliance on its American neighbor and shift its focus to the world’s No. 2 economy, China.

Mexico has some key advantages, despite all the doom and gloom since Trump’s election, according to Natixis SA in Hong Kong.  The peso has depreciated 26 percent over the past two years, making Mexico’s goods more competitive; the country has undertaken past structural reforms on labor, energy and telecoms; and it has free trade agreements with 44 countries outside the U.S.

Now it’s time for Mexico to woo China, Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia-Pacific economist at Natixis, said in a report.

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US Border Patrol shooting of Mexican national goes to Supreme Court

2/21/2017 CNN

Supreme Court US by Flikr user dbkingThe Supreme Court on Tuesday took up the case of a 15-year-old Mexican national who was shot to death in 2010 as he cowered behind a pillar in Mexico, by a US Border Patrol agent standing on American soil.

The family of Sergio Hernandez is seeking to sue the border official for their son’s death. They say the agent violated Hernandez’s constitutional rights.

The violent shooting was caught on cell phone video and sparked outrage because fact that Hernandez was unarmed.
This is the first case the Supreme Court heard under the new administration and comes as President Donald Trump’s policies concerning his executive order on immigration have raised questions about the constitutional rights of non-citizens. Another backdrop is the tense relations between the Trump administration and Mexico over the issue of building a wall between the two countries.

Mexico and Canada Say Nafta Should Be Re-Negotiated Trilaterally

2/21/2017 Bloomberg

NAFTAThe foreign ministers of Mexico and Canada presented a unified front ahead of potential trade talks with Donald Trump’s administration, stressing the North American Free Trade Agreement has benefited all three countries.

Mexico’s Luis Videgaray and Canada’s Chrystia Freeland said Nafta should be re-negotiated with all three nations seated at the table, rather than in bilateral discussions.

“We very much recognize that Nafta is a three-country agreement,” Freeland said Tuesday at a panel discussion with Videgaray in Toronto ahead of private trade talks. “We really value our relationship with Mexico.”

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