NAFTA renegotiations to resume for first time since Mexican election

NAFTA renegotiations to resume for first time since Mexican election

High-level Mexican officials, including representatives of newly elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), will travel to Washington today to

Trucks wait in the queue for border customs control to cross into U.S. at the World Trade Bridge in Nuevo Laredo

Photo: Reuters/Daniel Becerril

High-level Mexican officials, including representatives of newly elected President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), will travel to Washington today to resume NAFTA negotiations.

Although talks have been underway since last August, roadblocks have stalled further progress, such as US metal tariffs and demands for tougher auto regulation. However, AMLO’s recent election has given rise to new optimism between his incoming administration and President Trump’s. Indeed, today’s talks will not include Canadian officials, who will participate later on.

With relations between Mr Trump and AMLO seemingly warm, the US president has reiterated the possibility of splitting NAFTA into bilateral deals. However, AMLO recently stressed the importance of a trilateral agreement. Having already promised voters a more favourable deal, the president will likely continue to take a hard stance on agriculture and manufacturing—regardless of if Canada is a signatory.

With Trump claiming that “something dramatic” is in the works, today’s talks have the potential to reveal a major shift in negotiations, possibly regarding a bilateral deal. However, further talks with Canada are more likely—exhausting every possible trilateral deal before AMLO is prepared to abandon the opportunity to deliver a NAFTA victory to his base.

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