On the Mexican side of the border, manufacturers say anti-NAFTA stance could backfire

02/13/2018 Houston Chronicle

manufacutiringIn the 1990s, Julio Chiu’s textile manufacturing business here employed hundreds of people and shipped thousands of pairs of jeans across the United States.

The business, split between Juarez and El Paso on the other side of the border, grew for half a decade under the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lowered barriers to trade between Mexico, the United States and Canada. But when China entered the World Trade Organization in 2001 – allowing multinational manufacturers to take advantage of China’s cheap labor by moving operations there – Chiu was forced to get out of the textile business.

“I realized I was going to have a tough time competing with China,” said Chiu, founder and chief executive of another manufacturing company, the El Paso-based medical device maker Seisa. “I decided I would concentrate on the medical device industry, and I’ve been able to compete.”

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NAFTA renegotiations are ‘far from being completed,’ says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

02/01/2018 CNBC

NAFTA

The efforts to renegotiate NAFTA are “far from being completed at this point,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on CNBC Wednesday.

Ross told “Squawk Box” without being specific that some progress has been made on easier provisions, but “very little has been done on the hard issues.”

Without mentioning specific trade free arrangements such as NAFTA or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to talk about America turning the page “on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies.”

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As NAFTA talks continue, your hamburger hangs in the balance

01/30/2018 The Washington Post

burgerFew meals are more American than a burger and fries, the combo McDonald’s made globally famous. But few Americans probably realize how much the affordability of that classic meal depends on a free-trade agreement.

French fries from Canada. Tomatoes from Mexico. Beef sourced from a supply chain that crosses all three countries. When it comes to dinner, there’s plenty at stake in the North American Free Trade Agreement, whose future was being negotiated at a sixth round of talks in Montreal on Monday.

Negotiators from Mexico, Canada and the United States expect to spend several more months working to revise the treaty after President Trump repeatedly threatened to withdraw. NAFTA has allowed billions of dollars of agricultural commodities to travel each year among the three countries.

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Nafta talks are at a ‘much better’ point, says Mexico

01/30/2018 BBC

flag pictureOfficials from the US, Canada and Mexico say they have made progress in tense negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

Their remarks concluded the latest round of talks, the second-to-last before the negotiations are supposed to end in March.

President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from the treaty, which governs more than $1 trillion in trade.

A Mexican official said the discussions are at a “much better” point.

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Mexico in 2018

01/9/2018 The Expert Take

expert I (2)By Luis Rubio

The presidential election of 2018 will be the first to be held in Mexico without an international anchor that guarantees the continuity of economic policy since the era of competitive, democratic elections was inaugurated back in the 90s. That anchor has proven to be key to attracting investment and conferring certainty to the population as well as to investors and hence, to the gradual evolution of the country. This does not necessarily mean that there will be radical changes in the government’s strategy. However, for the first time since NAFTA came into effect in 1994, the decision of how to conduct the country’s destiny will no longer be constrained by international commitments and, thus, whoever wins the upcoming election will have unbound power in this regard. The whole political point of NAFTA -an established framework to work under any electoral scenario- will no longer be there. Mexico is living a completely new political reality.

The rhetorical attacks on trade matters and, particularly, NAFTA that President Trump launched since his campaign in 2016 and his insistence on the possibility of cancelling it, has had a decisive impact on Mexican politics. By eliminating the “untouchable” character of the deal within Mexico, the certainty that emanated from it has also evaporated. Even if NAFTA were to continue (in my opinion, the most likely scenario), the damage already inflicted is enormous- as the high domestic political costs that a withdrawal at Mexico’s behest would have entailed no longer exist.

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Decisions on trio of trade partners loom large for US in 2018

01/10/2018 The Hill

CSCL_Globe_arriving_at_Felixstowe,_United_Kingdom (1)By Earl Anthony Wayne

The Trump administration has China, Canada and Mexico at the top of the trade agenda for 2018. Decisions are pending about trade sanctions on China and about modernizing or leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

These are America’s top-three trading partners and export markets. Millions of U.S. jobs and many billions of dollars in trade and investment are in the balance, as are key U.S. strategic interests. The costs of missteps can be very high.

The U.S. administration is considering imposing trade penalties on its largest trading partner, China, for intellectual property (IP) theft and forced technology transfers, for underpricing solar panels sold in the U.S. and for subsidizing the cost of steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

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UPCOMING EVENT | A Critical Juncture: Public Opinion and U.S.-Mexico Relations

USA and Mexico

WHEN: Thursday, January 18, 2018

WHERE: 5th Floor Conference Room, Wilson Center

RSVP

The Wilson Center and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs are pleased to invite you to an event on public opinion on U.S.-Mexico relations. Over the last two to three decades, public opinion in the bilateral relationship has risen and fallen, and U.S.-Mexico relations have hit a rough patch since the election of Donald Trump. Today, Mexican public opinion of the United States has fallen to a historic low; however, U.S. opinion of Mexico is quite strong and on the rise.

Join us as we discuss two reports on U.S.-Mexico public opinion. The first, A Critical Juncture: Public Opinion in U.S.-Mexico Relations, reviews U.S. and Mexican perceptions of their neighboring country, first looking at broad attitudes and then delving into important topics in the bilateral relationship. The second, a report by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, and Buendía & Laredo, For the First Time, A Majority of Mexicans Hold Unfavorable Views of United States, examines the phenomenon of declining Mexican public opinion of the United States, while American views of Mexico have become more favorable since all-time lows recorded in 2013. With NAFTA negotiations in the background, both Mexicans and Americans have come to believe that NAFTA has been beneficial to their countries.

Speakers

Moderator: Duncan Wood, Director, Mexico Institute

Christopher Wilson, Deputy Director, Mexico Institute

Dina Smeltz, Senior Fellow on Public Opinion and Foreign Policy, Chicago Council on Global Affairs

Esteban Guzmán Saucedo, Project Director, Buendía & Laredo

RSVP