Mexico agrees to talk about tough NAFTA issues
The Dollar Business Bureau
Mexico agreed on Wednesday to start discussions on tough issues in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which is likely to begin on August 16.
Canada has vehemently opposed a US proposal to do away with binational dispute resolution panels in which experts on the review panel review the decisions to impose tariffs or quotas. Though the Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo denied taking any immediate position on the ‘panel issue’, but added that Mexico is keen to see that the process is modernised. In an interview Guajardo refused to take any stand, ‘I don’t think that when you start negotiations, it does any good to shadow box.’ He instead agreed to putting strong environmental and labour guarantees, which were relegated as weak points, in the NAFTA text.
Mexico wants the energy sector to be included in the agreement which wasn’t covered in the original 1994 trade pact between US, Canada and Mexico. The Mexican Secretary also clarified that though immigration issues are important, it will ensure that there are no broader issues in NAFTA while his side would rather focus on availing temporary visa program for its labour force.
Regarding rules of origin issue- the content required for products to be labelled ‘Made in North America’ – Guajardo said his government is open to ‘fine adjustment and constant dialogue’.