NAFTA and the stubbornness of the U.S.

Terminating NAFTA will strain the commercial & political relationship between the US, Canada, and Mexico, yet Mexico must be ready to face this case scenario

Canadian, American, and Mexican flags - File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 12/10/2017 09:00 Mexico City Newspaper Leader by EL UNIVERSAL Actualizada 09:00
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For a long time now, the international economic panorama has become thus globalized that now it is unthinkable to imagine a country rejecting commercial exchange at lower costs with other nations. Against this reality, in the United States of America, the Donald Trump administration has adopted an aggressive policy which has caused a reevaluation of the agreements which benefit the country.

Despite the undergoing talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Trump won't budge an inch: the discredit towards the agreement and the denial of the benefits it offers to the United States were drawn since the beginning. The President of the largest economic power in the world and his team seem to have concluded their country has signed an agreement which benefits others more than themselves, which is why they want to end it.

However, the evidence is unequivocal. Contrary to the position of the United States – arising more from stubbornness than a serious and profound analysis – it's obvious NAFTA has borne fruit for all the countries involved. The commercial exchange between the nations has increased, producers have imported supplies and exported their products with reduced customs duties. End consumers are the main winners of the agreement. Yet despite it all, Trump disagrees.

Mexico is a country with a huge production capacity in several industries. Our trade partnership with the U.S. and Canada is vital for the development of our economy since they are the main destination of our domestic production. NAFTA has contributed greatly to this.

Terminating the agreement will, of course, strain the political relationship of the three North American nations, in addition to the commercial exchange. Nevertheless, Mexico must be ready to face this case scenario. Trump has shown he plans to make good on his campaign promises – regardless of the political or economic costs. Irrationality is part of his method and his practices.

Even if Mexico has arguments enough to enter Trump's logic, the most reliable way to reach agreements which can benefit the parties is through open and honest dialogue, subject to national dignity and sovereignty. The United States and Canada must understand that while NAFTA can be improved, the road to cooperation is finding common interests and build upon them. Free trade is a symbol of our century, yet, given the inflexible stubbornness of Trump, we need to prepare for any possible outcome.


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