MEXICO CITY – Mexico expects the process of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be rapid and address the key points as quickly as possible, the Aztec nation’s economy minister said on Wednesday.
Ildefonso Guajardo acknowledged, however, that there would be some thorny issues, such as the United States’ trade deficit with Mexico and the US’s plans to eliminate the agreement’s so-called “global safeguard exclusion” to allow Washington to respond to a surge in imports.
Modifying certain points would have “consequences not only for Mexico but for North American exporters and the health of the region’s economy,” he added.
The economy secretary said there would be a pause of no more than three or four weeks between each negotiating round, the first of which will take place in Washington DC from Aug. 16-20.
The rounds will rotate among the three NAFTA partners, with the second to take place in Mexico, likely in Mexico City, and the third in Canada.
Guajardo said the parties would seek to reform the trade agreement quickly to avoid a repeat of what happened with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade deal from which the US withdrew after President Donald Trump took office in January.
He was referring to presidential elections in Mexico scheduled for June 2018.
On Wednesday, Guajardo introduced Mexico’s NAFTA renegotiation team.
That country’s chief negotiator will be Kenneth Smith Ramos, director of the Trade and NAFTA Office at the Mexican Embassy in Washington DC.