MEXICO CITY – Mexico wants NAFTA to remain a trilateral pact and is confident that Canada will prevail in its fight with the United States over the treaty’s dispute-resolution chapter, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo said Thursday.
“Mexico achieved all of its objectives. Now all that is missing is the dispute-resolution chapter, which is crucial for Canada,” he told reports, adding that, for Ottowa, “this battle is very important.”
Presidents Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto announced last month that the US and Mexico had concluded a new trade deal and they invited Canada to join the pact.
But the Canadian government has indicated it will insist on preserving Chapter 19 of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement in any new accord, while Mexico did not make that an issue in their talks with Washington.
“We have to optimize our objectives,” Guajardo said, explaining that Mexico was more concerned about turning back proposed changes to NAFTA that he described as “very toxic.”
In his opening statement during the annual Concamin business federation meeting, Guajardo said that Mexico’s industrial sector had gained “certainty” after the new trade deal with the US was concluded.
“But there is still a long way to go. We still need to attempt to maintain the trilateral nature (of NAFTA) and then the most important process lies ahead, namely the legislative process,” he said, referring to ratification by lawmakers from the respective nations.
Trade under the aegis of NAFTA totals more than $1 trillion a year.