The Strategist

Mexico may leave NAFTA talks

08/31/2017 - 14:37

Mexico will leave the negotiating table if US President Donald Trump continues to threaten to begin the process of withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said, Reuters reports.

Presidencia de la República Mexicana
Presidencia de la República Mexicana
On Monday, Trump said that he might have to withdraw from the agreement in order to obtain what he considers to be a fair trade agreement with economic partners Mexico and Canada, and revised his old pledge that Mexico will pay for the border wall.

Answering a question on whether Mexico will continue negotiations, if Trump initiates a six-month withdrawal process, Videgaray responded with a resolute "no."

The minister said that US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross agreed to continue the "serious" process of reviewing the agreement. Around the same time, while speaking at the plant in Missouri, Trump repeated his threat to withdraw from the deal.

Videgaray and Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo went to Washington after Trump’s threats in connection with the second round of NAFTA negotiations, to be held in Mexico from September 1 to 5

An article in NAFTA allows any of the three countries to withdraw from the deal after a 180-day notice, and Trump previously flirted with the idea of starting this process to increase pressure on other trading partners.

Some experts in the United States claim that Trump will not be allowed to legally withdraw from NAFTA without the approval of the US Congress.

The first five-day round of talks between the three countries ended in Washington on August 20. All parties of the negotiations participated in the accelerated process of reviewing the provisions of the treaty.

Later in September, yet another round of talks will be held in Canada, after which the parties will again meet in the US in October. At the same time, "additional rounds of negotiations" are planned before the end of the year.

Three countries are trying to complete a full modernization of the 23-year North American Free Trade Agreement by early 2018, before the national election campaign in Mexico begins.

As previously reported, US President Donald Trump was ready to withdraw from NAFTA in the absence of major changes aimed at reducing the US trade deficit with North American neighbors. Trump described NAFTA as a "catastrophe," which deprived the US of hundreds of thousands of jobs in the manufacturing sector that were transferred to Mexico.

In July during the talks, US Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that they were ready to improve NAFTA.