MEXICO CITY – The Mexican and Canadian governments reaffirmed on Wednesday that the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement must have a favorable result for all three parties in the face of pressure from Washington to divide the pact into bilateral agreements.
Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray and Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, along with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, held on Wednesday a press conference after meeting in Mexico City.
“We have held a bilateral conversation between Mexico and Canada, since tomorrow we will hold a bilateral meeting with the United States, but the process preserves its trilateral essence and nature,” Videgaray said.
For her part, Freeland said that Canada will defend the concept that NAFTA is a trilateral pact because the treaty has benefitted all three countries.
Guajardo said that just a “few months” remain in the renegotiation process, given that the parties are “trying to move forward constructively” before the US mid-term elections in November.
Freeland’s visit marks an increase in intensity for the top level talks after two months of limited conversations with meager results because of a set of remaining disagreements.
The Canadian minister and her hosts reiterated the opposition of Canada and Mexico to the US proposal to add a five-year sunset clause to NAFTA.
On Thursday, Guajardo will travel to Washington to discuss the state of the NAFTA negotiations with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
This new push in the negotiations coincides with the warning issued by US President Donald Trump that he wants to move the talks forward quickly.
Trump conveyed that sentiment in a letter to Mexico’s president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, implying that failing to reach agreement quickly would bring negative consequences.