MEXICO CITY – The president of Mexico’s Senate urged Canada on Monday not to “fall into the trap” of excluding his country from the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) among the member countries.
Ernesto Cordero made his remarks amid concerns about the possibility of Canada reaching a bilateral agreement with the US.
“For us, it is a trilateral agreement, and I ask you not to fall into the temptation and the trap of negotiating the deal bilaterally with the United States,” Cordero told a delegation of Canadian lawmakers during an inter-parliamentary meeting between the two countries in Mexico City.
“It is a matter of three parties and we three have all done it well,” Cordero said while detailing the benefits that NAFTA has brought to Mexico since 1994.
“Our economy went from being an 80 percent oil exporter. Today, 80 percent of our exports are high- and medium-tech products,” the Senate present said, noting that “with this economic prosperity that we have generated, we managed to transform it into better living conditions for everyone.”
The President of the North America Foreign Affairs Committee, Marcela Guerra Castillo, said that “Mexicans and Canadians want a modern, fair and reciprocal Free Trade Agreement.”
Following these requests, the speaker of the Canadian Senate, George Furey, present at the meeting, ruled out any bilateral agreement between Canada and the US.
Furey insisted that his country is committed to its partners and friends in Mexico and that it fully supports the commitment to a trilateral NAFTA, while stressing that Canada realizes that the member countries are better and stronger together, as friends and colleagues, rather than separated.
The sixth round of the NAFTA renegotiation concluded on Jan. 29 in Montreal, Canada, with moderate optimism concerning the progress on some issues, although some signs of disagreement in key points were evident.
The NAFTA renegotiation has moved forward with “method and dialogue” and in a more consolidated way following the uncertainty throughout last year, the head of Mexico’s Treasury, Jose Antonio Gonzalez, said last week.
For his part, the US Foreign Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, said he sees more progress in the renegotiation process with Mexico than with Canada, which sued Washington before the World Trade Organization for its allegedly inappropriate use of anti-dumping subsidies.