Introducing Mexico's negotiating team for NAFTA

By Elliot Bullman

A "dream team" of North American trade and economy experts.

The Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, has presented Mexico´s NAFTA trade talks team, which is made up of Keneth Smith as Mexico´s chief negotiator, Juan Carlos Baker, the current Undersecretary of Foreign Trade in the Secretariat of Economy, and Salvador Behar, director for North America in the same unit.

nafta negotiators

Guajardo told a news conference that the 3 negotiators have more than 20 years of being civil servants in this secretariat, with responsibilities in Mexico´s office in Washington.

Mexico's negotiating team will be led by US-trained economist Kenneth Smith, who, despite his Anglo Saxon-sounding name, is "super Mexican," Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo joked with journalists. Smith is a veteran Mexican trade policy expert and currently serves as director of the Trade and North American free-trade agreement (NAFTA) Office at the Mexican embassy in Washington.

Juan Carlos Baker Pineda is currently Undersecretary of Foreign Trade of the Ministry of Economy, a unit in which he has worked for more than 20 years. He has held, among other positions, the Director General for North America in the Undersecretariat of Foreign Trade, where he supervised the commercial relationship with the United States and Canada, through the monitoring of the fulfilment of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

NAFTA mexico1

Salvador Behar Lavalle is the Deputy Chief of Technical Negotiation for NAFTA. He is currently Director General for North America at the Ministry of Economy. He began his career in the branch in 1995 as director of International Trade and Legal Affairs, a position he held until 2002. He has a Doctorate in Law from the Universidad Latino Americana, a postgraduate degree in Corporate Law from the Universidad Iberoamericana and a Masters in Law from Georgetown University.

These 3 trade negotiating veterans will have the daunting task of preventing Trump´s trade team from imposing tariffs and protectionism measures, whilst updating an agreement which needs to embrace, ecommerce, telecommunications and Mexico´s migrant labour force in the US.

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