U.S., Mexican business leaders say no NAFTA better than bad deal
MEXICO CITY, (Reuters) - U.S. and Mexican CEOs gathered in Mexico City yesterday said it would be better to live with no North American Free Trade Agreement than be saddled with a bad deal, as industry braces for the end of a treaty that drives $1 trillion in annual trade.
The CEO meeting ran in parallel to talks near Washington aimed at refreshing the 1994 agreement, with Mexico, Canada and businesses united in opposition to a number of radical U.S. proposals they say would damage the North American economy.
U.S. President Donald Trump said yesterday he would be open to bilateral trade pacts with Mexico or Canada if a deal cannot be reached to substantially revise NAFTA.
“We are all much worse off with a bad agreement than with no agreement,” said Guillermo Vogel, who cochaired the Mexico City event and is a vice president at Tenaris, a steel company.
The meeting, part of a bilateral “CEO dialogue” that meets a couple of times each year, included a closed-door discussion on the NAFTA negotiations addressed by Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Economy Minister Idelfonso Guajardo, who are in charge of the negotiations for Mexico.
On the U.S. side the event was co-chaired by Fedex’s CEO Michael Ducker and U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas Donohue.
The event’s organizers declined to say who else attended. American Express, AT&T, GM and Delta were listed on publicity material for an event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Mexico on Tuesday, where Donohue warned that several U.S. proposals in the NAFTA talks were “poison pills” that risked dooming the agreement.