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Mexican Foreign Minister Videgaray Says NAFTA’s End Wouldn’t Be ’End of the World’

Max de Haldevang - Quartz
go to original
September 24, 2017

NAFTA Talks Intensify as U.S. Unveil Demands (Wochit Politics)

Update: USA Hampers Progress on NAFTA Negotiation, Sources Said (Prensa Latina)

There are signs that Mexico and Canada are increasingly less worried by the idea of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) falling apart.

Mexico’s foreign minister Luis Videgaray recently told Reuters that “Mexico is much bigger than NAFTA,” arguing that an average 3% increase in tariffs that he thinks would come if NAFTA ended wouldn’t stop trade with the US.

With negotiations among the US, Mexico, and Canada due to resume this weekend, he went further: “If NAFTA goes away… it’s not the end of the world,” he said at a Council on Foreign Affairs event last week in New York. “It certainly is not the end of trade between Mexico and the United States.”

His basis for that argument? Most trade between the two countries is done under World Trade Organization rules rather than NAFTA, Videgaray said.

He was broadly optimistic about the talks. “We’re working hard to make this a win-win, or, I should say, a win-win-win because…Canada is a major part of this,” he said, adding—perhaps with a nod at US president Donald Trump’s transactional foreign policy: “We don’t believe trade deals are zero-sum games… and we hope that in the next few months we can have a very positive outcome.”

Despite the acrimony over Trump’s promise to make Mexico pay for a border wall and his slurs about Mexican immigrants, Videgaray insisted that president Enrique Pena Nieto’s administration has “an outstanding relationship with the White House and the key members of the Trump administration, which is probably closer and certainly more frequent than what we had with the previous administrations—not only the Obama administration, but some others.”

Read the rest at Quartz

Related: NAFTA talks: Three Scenarios and Three Bad Outcomes (The Globe and Mail)

Related: New NAFTA Gripe: U.S. Parts Shunned By Mexico, Canada for Exports to America, Report Says (The Washington Time)

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