South-America market key in NAFTA talks

Mexico needs to prove there is an alternative supply market
Ildefonso Guajardo, Secretary of Economy. File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
Ivette Saldaña
Mexico City
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The only way Mexico can succeed in renegotiating the farming and stock breeding sections of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is if domestic producers open their doors to South-American imports of grains and oilseeds. This way, the United States will see Mexico has other sources and doesn't depend exclusively on them, according to the Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo.

In his appearance before the Senate with the Foreign Affairs Commission, the official said that Mexico currently has restrictions on grain and oilseeds imports from Brazil, Argentina, and other Southern countries, and the main suppliers of these foods are Canada and the United States. Thus, Mexico has to show there is an alternative supply market.

“What we have told farmers is that for a good negotiation, they need to allow us to open alternative sources to the South. Otherwise, my posture at the negotiation table will lack credibility,” he claimed.

He confirmed the aim is to conclude NAFTA talks in early 2018, although he cannot ensure the treaty will be signed or the changes approved on time and manner – as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) proved – because one administration can throw away the efforts of a previous administration, just as it happened with the United States.


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