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NAFTA to be “rewritten” in August

Canada, US, and Mexico will form work teams to oversee drafting and revise current NAFTA chapters
Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, explaining how the current NAFTA will be rewritten (SE)
25/07/2017
12:06
Ivette Saldaña
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The governments of Canada, United States, and Mexico will form work teams at the kickoff of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations to “rewrite or redraft” the treaty, according to Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal.

From August 16 – date when the first round of the process will begin – officials from the three countries will have the task to reconsider what should be added to the trade agreement that entered into force and effect in 1994. That is, more than 23 years ago.

During the Annual Meeting of ProMexico – which celebrated the 10th Anniversary of this organization, which is in charge of promoting trade and investment – Guajardo explained that the idea is to take the current chapters of the NAFTA and redraft them.

“We will form work teams and we will rewrite or pick up the basis of the several texts in the chapters. Each country has a responsibility to redraw the agreement or rewrite the chapters,” he said at the conclusion of his presentation, where he informed the councilors and officials of ProMexico, of the current situation with the US and current negotiations with other countries.

He said that during the first round, which will take place from August 16 to 20, the three countries will define the members of the different work teams that will analyze both new and current chapters.

He reaffirmed that the “idea is to generate a sense of importance, so the gap between rounds takes no more than three or four weeks.”

Last week, the Secretary explained that the decision to speed up negotiations is aligned to the electoral schedule of US and Mexico, in order “to be very efficient and mindful that content and substance come before haste, [to] have a negotiation plan which provides effective results within a reasonable time frame.”

Guajardo Villarreal said the public consult made from February to May – which gathered more than 350 comments – allowed the Government to understand the vision of the production sectors, and that they currently opened an electronic consult, which started on June 26 and will conclude on July 26.

NAFTA renegotiations will take place in Washington, and the Mexican team will be led by Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, and Under Secretary of Foreign Trade, Juan Carlos Baker. From the private sector, the representatives of the Business Coordinating Council (CCE), presided by Juan Pablo Castañón, will be present, as well as Eugenio Salinas and Moisés Kalach.

The American lineup will be led the United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, as well as Assistant US Trade Representative for the Western Hemisphere, John Melle.

Last Monday, the American Government stated they were interested in including new chapters, such as electronic commerce, energy, and environment, in addition to labor issues, small and medium enterprises, and telecommunications.

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