PRI Senators hear from Foreign Affairs Secretary Videgaray. PRI Senators hear from Foreign Affairs Secretary Videgaray.

MX turns its focus on the rest of the world

US dialogue not broken but expanded trade is being sought elsewhere

There is no rupture in dialogue with the United States but Mexico has begun working on strengthening its presence, relations and trade treaties with Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa, the Foreign Affairs Secretary told Senators belonging to the governing party.

Luis Videgaray told the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) lawmakers yesterday that in Latin America Mexico is concentrating its efforts in Central America’s Northern Triangle —Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, as well as in Brazil and Argentina where formal talks have already begun.

In Europe, he explained, Mexico is seeking to update its trade agreement while in Asia many more opportunities are seen as a result of the collapse of the Trans-Pacific Partnership after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out.

Bilateral negotiations are planned with Japan and South Korea, and there are hopes to strengthen the trade relationship with China, the secretary said.

“We have opportunities with everyone,” he said.

With regard to the currently tenuous relationship with the U.S., Videgaray said “there are moments in life when it is necessary to understand when to say no,” even with friends, partners and allies such as Mexico’s northern neighbor.

But Videgaray clarified that dialogue with the U.S. is not broken and forecast good results for both countries because Mexico will establish limits and will not accept any conditions.

One of those conditions could be paying for the cost of the border wall proposed by Trump, who has insisted that Mexico will pay. Disagreement over that issue led to frosty relations between the two countries last week, which thawed after a telephone call between Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto and Trump.

Up for negotiation at some point in the near future is NAFTA, the North American Trade Agreement, at Trump’s insistence. Videgaray said Mexico is seeking the genuine integration of North America in terms of trade and the opportunity for Mexican businesses to continue exporting products without tariffs.

But he noted as well that the trade agreement must also improve salaries in Mexico, which ought not continue attracting investment solely on the basis of cheap labor.

“This is about NAFTA resulting not only in a lot of jobs but in better pay.”

Source: SIPSE (sp)

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