The elected Mexican President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador , plans to continue the work begun by the current team of President Enrique Peña Nieto in the negotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
López Obrador said he was in favor of renegotiating NAFTA. In the past, he has been critical of the agreement in its current form. He wants his own team of experts to participate in the negotiations before taking office on 1 December.
The new Mexican president mentioned that the team in place had not done a bad job so far.
He hopes to make Mexico less economically dependent on the United States, while convincing Donald Trump to help develop his country and Central America in order to curb illegal immigration.
The president-elect must meet with incumbent President Enrique Peña Nieto precisely to discuss NAFTA, but also energy reform, budget and security.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 64, was elected to the presidency of Mexico on Sunday, for a six-year term, with over 53% of the vote, a historic victory for the Mexican left, while relations are strained with his neighbor American.
Canada targets negotiations this summer
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with López Obrador by telephone on Monday and both spoke of “the economic and trade relationship beneficial to both countries and their shared priority to update NAFTA so that improve the lives of their people, “said Trudeau’s office in a statement.
The Trudeau government still expects the NAFTA negotiations to accelerate this summer, even though US President Donald Trump says he is in no hurry to sign an agreement before the mid-term elections to the United States. United States this fall.
Now that Mexico’s new president has been elected, Ottawa hopes to resume talks as soon as possible, a Canadian government official said.
The Canadian official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to publicly discuss the matter, said that until Mr. López Obrador’s the current Mexican government will continue to be the main negotiators for NAFTA.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she had spoken six times with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer last week and expects the NAFTA negotiations to move up a gear this summer.
Efforts to restart negotiations come as Canada and the United States exchange punitive import tariffs in a cross-border trade dispute.
In an interview on Fox News on Sunday, Donald Trump said he could quickly sign a revised deal with Canada and Mexico, but instead wanted a better deal for the United States. When asked about the timing of an agreement, Trump said, “I want to wait until after the elections.”
Quebec is hopeful
Quebec premier Philippe Couillard is delighted by the first statements made by the new Mexican president about the agreement, which he says show a desire to keep a three-way deal.
“I would say it’s further away, which is a good thing, the idea of breaking the three-party agreement and making bilateral agreements. I think it’s not really on the horizon anymore. I think everyone understands that it will take a three-way deal. His initial statements were quite positive, in the sense that he wants to participate in the negotiations with his team and he wants the agreement to be renewed, which is also positive, “he said.
Philippe Couillard does not seem to be overly alarmed by the remarks of Donald Trump, who recently said he was in no hurry to sign a new agreement.
“I think everyone in the economic field in the United States, the governors we meet, the members of Congress, everyone knows that we must renew, modernize NAFTA, but that it is necessary above all preserve it, preserve this huge North American economic space. On that, I think there is a very broad consensus. But to make fine analysis of the president’s remarks every day, there would be for a long time, “he said.
Raymond Bachand, chief negotiator for Quebec on this issue, believes that the arrival of a new president in Mexico may slow down negotiations.
He also thinks that López Obrador will want to set up his own negotiators during the transition.
He will, of course, put his own negotiators to accompany the others until the transition. He’s going to take the chair on December 1, so maybe it’ll slow down the process, too.
Raymond Bachand, Chief Negotiator for Quebec on NAFTA
Mr. Bachand believes he will probably be more supportive of workers’ rights and a raise in the minimum wage, which “may favor an agreement with the Americans”.
Regarding a possible conclusion of the negotiations after the mid-term elections in the United States, Raymond Bachand does not show any concern.
“NAFTA has been in existence for almost 25 years and will continue to exist anyway, whatever happens, because there is not a senator, not a governor who wants to put an end to it,” he said. he affirmed.
Raymond Bachand is not surprised by a change in the pace of negotiations.
“There are two parts, three parts, if there is one who does not want to discuss, then it is delayed. It will be delayed if the [American] president keeps the line, unless he changes his mind, which has sometimes happened too. But I’m not surprised, because he’ll have to make concessions. He prefers to make concessions after the elections rather than look weak by the concessions he could give us, “he said.
Diane Elliot is a seasoned journalist with nearly 12 years experience. While studying journalism at University of Southern California, Diane found a passion for finding engaging stories. As a contributor to Coastal Morning Star, Diane mostly covers human interest pieces.