Mexico's economy minister says NAFTA talks must lead to "certain victories"

By Elliot Bullman

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has urged for a deeper dialogue between the US and Mexico that leads to "certain victories" on both sides of the border.

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Mexico and the US face a diplomatic standoff over trade, immigration and a proposed border wall and Guajardo has urged that any changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) provide "wins" for the three member nations.

Speaking last week at the Mexican Financial Summit in Mexico City, he said however, that it will not be easy to make changes to NAFTA. The more than 10,000 original rules in the trade agreement could be put forward at the renegotiating table, but the purpose of the talks is to "strengthen the original content."

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Guajardo expressed that Mexico will not enter any discussions on trade without a backup plan. "No negotiator will sit at the table without a Plan B. If you don’t have a plan B, you will be damaged, simple," he said. "If there is pressure at the table, it will hurt competitiveness in the region."

The minister stated that Mexico's Plan B could involve levying a tax on US imports. Guajardo said he expects the negotiations to begin in the summer and finish by the end of the year.

Mexico sends about 80% of its exports to the US. Bilateral trade between the two countries is worth some $500bn.

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