Mex­ico says la­bor, en­vi­ron­ment rules could be in NAFTA up­date

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

Mex­ico could in­clude la­bor and en­vi­ron­men­tal rules in talks over mod­ern­iz­ing a trade deal be­tween the United States and Mex­ico, Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto said on Satur­day as he seeks to avoid a stand­off with US Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump.

Trump has threat­ened to ditch the 1994 North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) that binds the United States, Canada and Mex­ico if he can­not rene­go­ti­ate it in fa­vor of the United States, ar­gu­ing it has led to a loss in US man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

The New York real es­tate mag­nate has also threat­ened to slap hefty tar­iffs on Mex­i­can-made goods, spark­ing anx­i­ety south of the US border be­cause Mex­ico cur­rently sends four-fifths of its goods ex­ports to the United States. Mex­ico’s gov­ern­ment has made clear it is will­ing to talk to Trump about NAFTA, and Pena Ni­eto said dur­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion sum­mit in Lima that he was in fa­vor of mod­ern­iz­ing the trade treaty, not rene­go­ti­at­ing it.

That meant look­ing at is­sues that were not con­tem­plated when the treaty was signed more than two decades ago, he noted. “There are el­e­ments that could be in­cluded, is­sues to do with the en­vi­ron­ment ... the la­bor is­sue is one I think that wasn’t in­cor­po­rated in NAFTA, just to men­tion some chap­ters that could be in­cluded in this mod­ern­iza­tion,” Pena Ni­eto said.

Be­fore Trump’s sur­prise win, Mex­ico had been hop­ing to use the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP), a wider ac­cord be­tween the NAFTA mem­bers and nine other coun­tries, to ad­dress is­sues such as la­bor stan­dards and the en­vi­ron­ment with the United States.

How­ever, Trump was highly crit­i­cal of TPP dur­ing his elec­tion cam­paign and pol­i­cy­mak­ers are doubt­ful whether it will be rat­i­fied by the US Congress un­der him. With­out US rat­i­fi­ca­tion, TPP can­not take ef­fect as the deal cur­rently stands, al­though Mex­ico’s gov­ern­ment has said it and five other sig­na­to­ries aim to press on with it re­gard­less. Mex­i­can Econ­omy Min­is­ter Ilde­fonso Gua­jardo has said he does not be­lieve Trump will scrap NAFTA, but also put for­ward the idea of adding ad­di­tional chap­ters to the ac­cord. Mex­ico’s gov­ern­ment and its busi­ness lead­ers are ea­ger to make the case to Trump that the United States’ eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion with Mex­ico and the lat­ter’s lower cost base has made all of North Amer­ica more com­pet­i­tive on the global stage. To break up NAFTA, they ar­gue, would be to dam­age both the US and Mex­i­can economies.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.