Guajardo: 'Let's not get nervous.' Guajardo: 'Let's not get nervous.' el universal

US faults MX, Canada for lack of advances

Chief negotiator hopes partners will attend the next NAFTA round 'in a serious way'

The United States blamed Mexico and Canada yesterday for a failure to make progress on key issues during the fifth round of talks to renegotiate the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).


“While we have made progress on some of our efforts to modernize NAFTA, I remain concerned about the lack of headway,” U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer said in a prepared statement after the sessions concluded in Mexico City.

“Thus far, we have seen no evidence that Canada or Mexico are willing to seriously engage on provisions that will lead to a rebalanced agreement. Absent rebalancing, we will not reach a satisfactory result,” the statement continued.

His assessment echoes the words of President Donald Trump who has made repeated threats to pull out of the 23-year-old trilateral agreement if it cannot be reworked to his liking.

Ahead of an intersessional meeting to be held next month in Washington, Lighthizer — who didn’t attend the latest talks — concluded his brief statement by saying, “I hope our partners will come to the table in a serious way so we can see meaningful progress before the end of the year.”

The next full round of discussions will be held in Montreal, Canada, in late January.

All three countries have previously undertaken to expedite NAFTA renegotiation to avoid clashing with domestic political processes, including the Mexican presidential election on July 1.


A trilateral statement issued at the conclusion of the latest round of talks said that the “chief negotiators reaffirmed their commitment to moving forward in all areas of the negotiations, in order to conclude negotiations as soon as possible.”

Mexico’s chief negotiator, Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo, was much more positive than Lighthizer in his assessment of the advances that have been made. He said the progress achieved so far meant the negotiation process was 20% complete and that Mexico remains committed to the process.

“It’s not a stalemate. That’s the way negotiations are, let’s not get nervous . . . It’s not easy but the most important thing is to trust ourselves . . . and trust that we have alternatives but [also] be clearly committed with a negotiation that we would like to conclude constructively,” he said.

Last week, he said that a U.S. withdrawal from the agreement would not be devastating for the Mexican economy as claimed by United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that differences still remain between Canada and the U.S., citing rules of origin and the so-called sunset clause as “significant” sticking points.

“I’ve been married for 19 years; when my husband asked me to marry him he didn’t say every five years we’re going to check whether we want to get divorced or not,” she told reporters in Toronto.

Both Mexico and Canada oppose changes to rules of origin, especially as they apply to the automotive industry, with Freeland saying that “the net result would be negative for both of our countries.”

Guajardo announced last week that Mexico would make a partial concession to the U.S. by agreeing to review the agreement each five-year period but it would not automatically be terminated if agreement was not reached, as proposed by the U.S. Canada backed the Mexican proposal.

However, Mexico didn’t present counter-proposals on other controversial issues this week because it first wanted to further analyze the U.S. proposals, Guajardo said.

Among the areas on which progress was made in Mexico City were anticorruption measures, telecommunications, good regulatory practices, e-commerce and trade.

Source: El Universal (sp), CBC News (en) 

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  • Mike S

    NAFTA will be updated but not repealed. Trump is all talk and no walk. He hasn’t read it and doesn’t really understand it.. He is the most unread president in our history, He knows nothing about international trade or economics. He expanded his inheritance over the years by bullying, suing, conning, and stiffing people. He sells and exports his “brand” to developers with more money than sense. That and beauty contests, celebrity golf tournaments, and a reality TV show are not really viable trade. He called NAFTA the worse trade agreement ever written. In reality it has been the most successful trade agreement in history. America has a big problem with China not Mexico. Since Trump owes the Chines National Bank $400 million, Ivanka’s apparel line is manufactured in a Chinese sweat shop, and Jared is selling green cards to wealthy Chinese to raise money for his failing family condo project- expect little change with our Chinese trade policy. “Make China Great” should be on those hats. As reality sets in and the complexities of NAFTA surface and the 5 million high paid US jobs that depend on it become at risk….there will be no dumping NAFTA…only updating it.

    • Don Taylor

      why dont you go blow your BS out of your bung hole

      • gypsyken

        A response worthy of a Trumpster: nothing rational, just name calling.

      • daniel pugh

        How old are you?

      • You demonstrate exactly what Trump stands for, name calling instead of real dialogue, diminishing others to puff yourself up, incoherent anti-intellectual statements instead of thoughtful comments.

    • dave jones

      trump understands that if he repeats “winning” enough times then at least he will believe it

    • Would it be OK if I converted this comment into a stand-alone article for Writer Beat? There is no fee; I’m simply trying to add more content diversity for our community and liked what you wrote. I’ll be sure to give you complete credit as the author. You can learn more aboutt Writer Beat by checking out my profile or just say “sure” and I’ll handle the rest.

      • Mike S


        • I posted your article and send you a link but it got detected as spam. If you want to know where it is and /or reply to your commenters, kindly send me an email (my email is in my profile) and I’ll reply back with thte link and confidential access information.

  • michael

    Trump might end NAFTA for America. He is a nationalist and conservative idealist. He and the deplorables are fighting a losing cause AGAIN to return the country back to Mayberry RFD. Trade is a two way street and Trump really doesn’t get that. he thinks he is some bully puff daddy developer from Queens.

    • gypsyken

      Trump is not a conservative or any other kind of “idealist.” He is a totally unprincipled narcissistic opportunist who will do everything he can to maintain his base of a third of misinformed and misguided voters (including those who prefer a Republican pedophile to a Democrat) so as to remain in office and enrich himself and his family.

      • Peter Maiz

        In agreement with gypsken. The destructive nature of the man is something to fear.

  • Truth9834

    NAFTA will not be updated but rather will be repealed. Trump has stated repeatedly that he did not believe this deal could be done. He is right. On one side you have two countries that have done very well with NAFTA and on the other side you see U.S. manufacturing looking for any reason to leave the U.S. to improve its short term profits. U.S. labor costs can not compete with Mexico’s labor costs. For every dollar you pay a Mexican auto worker you pay a U.S. auto worker 12 -14 times more. It is clear you can’t compete in the U.S. with cars built in Mexico so either you add tariffs or require higher rules of origin or you build your cars in Mexico. OK, think about it. If you want cheaper cars then yes you want to keep NAFTA the way it is however expect all auto jobs to leave the U.S. to Mexico. That is the choice. Also other jobs will follow until many of our manufacturing jobs move down south and (real) unemployment continues to skyrocket. What I mean by real unemployment is employment for good paying wages as low paying wages will always be an option in the United States. NAFTA has not been the most successful trade deal in history if your talking about the U.S. labor market however if your talking about corporate profits/higher shareholder returns and maybe some lower priced goods then it is a good deal. Its really boring reading this garbage about how great NAFTA has been and how we will lose jobs if it is repealed. Its non-sense talk.

    • Mike Reilly

      They economies of these three countries are so intertwined as a result of NAFTA that it’s unravelling will harm all three. It was never really a boon for Canada. Both Canada and the US have lost most of their manufacturing jobs – but only a small part of it to Mexico. Most of it was lost to China and India. The US has a huge trade deficit, mostly attributable to China, but for some strange reason nobody wants to do anything about that problem.

      • Mike S

        Right on!

    • Mike S

      The vehicle manufacturing business consists of a lot more than assembly line workers. There are robotics, software, engineering, molding, design, advanced materials, electric cars, financing, advertising, and on and on. Mexicans love and buy lots of US made products; the Chinese do not. The key to maintaining our 1st world economic status is to better educate our work force and move up the economic food chain. A college education is what a high school education used to be. Trump jumped all over Ford for planning to open an economy car plant in Mx. So they pulled out of Mx and are moving that plant to China….real smart….and not a word out of Trump.

      • Truth9834

        If you google “The truth is NAFTA has damaged Canada’s auto industry” you get an article that starts like this “There is a lot of storytelling getting in the way of a new NAFTA deal. It will be a stretch to get a new agreement unless everyone starts to separate fact from fiction.” Take a look and see what you think, following is a cut-out.

        “NAFTA has resulted in a straight shift of production to Mexico as the U.S. lost a net of 10 assembly plants, Canada four, and Mexico gained eight. Although there are four million more vehicles being built in North America today than when NAFTA was signed, two thirds of the added production went to Mexico, one-third to the U.S., and Canada has seen no growth. It’s so unbalanced that Mexico now has nearly half the auto jobs in North America, but only 8 per cent of the auto market. Amazingly, wages in Mexico are lower today in real terms than before NAFTA.”

        So who is winning, the Mexican labor market or the auto company’s that employ these workers? Also I keep hearing “we need to better educate our workforce” but does this approach work if the high paying jobs are gone?

        • Mike S

          In 2008/9 US vehicle sales plummeted as overall economy collapsed from Big Bank, hedge funds, Big Insurance, and Wall Street shenanigans too complicated to go into here. Mexico had nothing to do with that. From 2010 to 2016, the overall vehicle industry added 600,000 new jobs and totally recovered with record sales in 2015/16. South Korea entered our market big time during that time period. Ford and GM shifted domestic manufacturing resources to high profit SUV, pickup trucks, and full sized luxury gas hogs and moved some small car production to Mexico to compete with Korean, Japanese, and German imports. Most vehicles made today in US have somewhere around 60% and 80% Us parts. Cars are an international game to stay competitive. Walling off the US car industry with high tariffs will not help auto workers if overall sales plummet. Mexicans buy US products; the Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese do not. The robotics, software, styling, engineering, and many other high paid US jobs are involved in that Mexican production. A typical car takes 23 hours of assembly line work to build so those low wages in Mexico save very little in overall cost of a car. Be careful of simplistic solutions. The only 100% US made car today is the Tesla. That’s what I mean by moving up the food chain. A guy who makes money off beauty contests, celebrity golf tournaments, and fake universities doesn’t understand any of this.

          • Truth9834

            NATFA was a door through which American workers were pushed into the global labor market. By establishing the principle that U.S. corporations could relocate production elsewhere and sell back into the United States, NAFTA undercut the bargaining power of American workers, which had driven the expansion of the middle class since the end of World War II. The result has been 20 plus years of stagnant wages and the upward redistribution of income, wealth and political power. NAFTA affected U.S. workers in four principal ways.

            First, it caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs as production moved to Mexico. Most of these losses came from states where manufacturing was concentrated. Sure there were some job gains along the border in service and retail sectors resulting from increased trucking activity or other activity, but these gains were small in relation to the massive job loses, and these new jobs are in lower paying occupations. The vast majority of workers who lost jobs from NAFTA suffered a permanent loss of income.

            Second, NAFTA strengthened the ability of U.S. employers to force workers to accept lower wages and benefits. As soon as NAFTA became law, corporations hinted to labor that their manufacturing plants would move to Mexico unless labor lowered their hourly costs. In the midst of collective bargaining negotiations with unions, I read that some companies would even start loading machinery into trucks that they said were bound for Mexico. The same threats were used to fight union organizing efforts. The message was: “If you vote in a union, we will move south of the border.” With NAFTA, corporations could more easily blackmail local governments into giving them tax reductions and other subsidies.

            Third, the destructive effect of NAFTA on the Mexican agricultural and small business sectors dislocated several million Mexican workers and their families, and was a major cause in the dramatic increase in undocumented workers flowing into the U.S. labor market. This put further downward pressure on U.S. wages, especially in the already lower paying market for less skilled labor.

            Fourth, NAFTA was the template for rules of the emerging global economy, in which the benefits would flow to capital and the costs to labor. U.S. corporations—in alliance with certain of its trading partners—applied NAFTA’s principles to the World Trade Organization, to the policies of the World Bank and IMF, and to the deal under which employers of China’s huge supply of low-wage workers were allowed access to U.S. markets in exchange for allowing American multi-national corporations the right to invest and make enormous profits.

            The NAFTA doctrine of socialism for capital and free markets for labor drove U.S. policy in the Mexican peso crisis of 1994-95, the Asia financial crash of 1997 and the global financial meltdown of 2008. In each case, the U.S. government rescued of the world’s bank and corporate investors, and let the workers fend for themselves. In terms of U.S. politics, the passage of NAFTA signaled that the Democratic Party—the perceived “progressive” side of the U.S. two-party system—had accepted the economic ideology of Ronald Reagan. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, it was thought that the political pendulum would swing back, and that therefore NAFTA would never pass. However Clinton, surrounded with economic advisers from Wall Street (who later paid him back with fees of $250,000 for 30 minute speeches), pushed the approval of NAFTA through the Congress.

            Despite the rhetoric, the goal of NAFTA was not “expanding trade.” After all, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada had been trading goods and services with each other for three centuries. NAFTA’s purpose was to free American corporations from U.S. laws protecting workers and the environment. The inevitable result was to undercut workers’ living standards all across North America. Wages and benefits have fallen behind worker productivity in all three countries. Moreover, despite declining wages in the U.S., the gap between the typical American and Mexican worker in manufacturing remains the same. Even after adjusting for differences in living costs, Mexican workers continue to make less than 20% of the wages of workers in the United States. Not mentioned in this analysis is the lower taxes paid by U.S. corporations that relocate outside the U.S. Using certain transfer pricing techniques these corporations pay significantly less taxes than they would have paid if the cars were built in the U.S.

            So here we are. We are left with two alternative political strategies. One is repeal, as NAFTA gives each nation the right to opt out of the agreement. The other option is to rewrite NAFTA in a way that gives each of the countries workers the rights and labor protections that are at least equal to the current privileges of corporate investors. Based on my read of the political winds, we will repeal NAFTA.

          • Mike S

            After WW2 Asia and Europe lay in ruins. Our industrial, agricultural, and oil infrastructure was untouched protected by 2 large oceans and friendly neighbors north and south. We ruled the world economically. The 12 years before WW2 we were suffering economically…almost 3rd world status for the lower 80%. We assumed our post WW2 prosperity would never end and our American “exceptionalism” would keep us on top forever. Europe and Asia rebuilt and slowly from 1945 to today we have been feeling the increased competition. We have huge trade deficits with Japan & China because they buy few US produced goods. You can live under the illusion that all we have to do is build trade barriers, dump NAFTA, and build walls and our post WW2 prosperity will return and all the $27 an hour assembly line jobs will magically re-appear. That’s not going to happen no matter how much Trump claims it will. The world has changed. There are 3 major competitive economic engines now: Europe, Asia, and North America. We need Mexican labor and other resources to compete. Some industries have been helped; some hurt; overall it has been a plus.Trade under NAFTA with Mx has gone from $50 billion to $550 billion since 1993. This has greatly benefited both countries and today 6 million high paid American jobs depend on that trade. Yes we should demand better wages and higher environmental standards from Mexico, but the basics of the trade agreement should be kept in place. If the US wants to stay on top and be prosperous, we need to move up the food chain with a better educated work force and more invested in research and technology. Bernie has it right making public higher education tuition free. A huge opportunity is in transitioning from carbon energy to green/clean/renewable energy and more inefficiencies in our buildings and vehicles. Apparently the GOP doesn’t believe much in research, science, the clean energy revolution, and education.

          • Güerito

            This is the comment that was flagged by some creep/censor who can’t put up with arguments they disagree with.

          • Peter Maiz

            Mike, thanks for explaining it correctly.

        • Peter Maiz

          Go to Silicon Valley and tell me the “high paying” jobs are gone. Go to Mexico and you will find every American brand stationed there. It’s better to expand markets than to restrict them. Just ask Herbert Hoover. A larger middle class in Mexico increases the middle class in the U. S. The parting of manufacturing jobs in the U. S. is more due to robotics. A clean energy policy in the U. S. would inevitably create sustained job growth in America.

        • Güerito

          Hey, Truth9834, your excellent discussion of the true effects of free trade, and NAFTA in particular, has been flagged for some reason and “is awaiting moderation.” César, what’s the deal?

          • Truth9834

            Agree with your comments. Not sure why my discussion of the effects of free trade, and NAFTA in particular, have been flagged and are awaiting moderation. Its very obvious corporations will move operations outside of the U.S. if costs are dramatically lower and there are no barriers to entry back into the United States. It may be good for the corporation in short term higher profits but it is not good for U.S. labor or the U.S. economy. It’s ridiculous to argue with those who believe moving high paying jobs outside of the U.S. is good for Americans.

          • Güerito

            I’ve also has some of my comments flagged for no reason other than the reader can’t put up with opposing views. It’s a good idea to every now and then check your account to review your posts to see if some censor has flagged one.

    • There have been trade offs on all sides. The US and Canada lost 5 million manufacturing jobs, most of them to China, Mexico gained 300,000 manufacturing jobs but lost 2 million agricultural jobs. Withdrawal will hurt the US much more than Mexico with its Trade agreements with 48 other countries. Mexico has been preparing for withdrawal since Trump’s “election”, at this point a withdrawal from NAFTA would benefit maquiladoras which had a much better deal with Mexico before NAFTA.

  • Güerito

    Statement from Jerry Dias, leader of Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, after his visit to Guerrero state earlier this week to the site where two miners were murdered after “10 pick-ups filled with armed men” opened fire on striking mine workers.

    Peña Nieto Should Be Embarrassed By Wages In Mexico: Canadian Labor Leader

    “I went to the place where they died and I saw the bloodstain on the ground. The miners explained to me that 10 pick-up trucks arrived with armed men and began firing,” Dias reports.

    Testimonies from other miners indicate the armed group was linked to the CTM, the largest union in Mexico and historically close to PRI governments. Regarding the murders, the union did not issue any bulletin or communication through its official channels until the publication of this article.

    Dias continued, “The miners believe and understand perfectly that it was the result of their attempt to leave the CTM and join the Mineros Union. The two miners who were killed were at the head of the strike, people are very upset,” he said in interview with the HuffPost Mexico.

    He said that the conditions in which Guerrero miners work are terrible: very low salaries, they do not receive training, they are constantly replaced by unprepared employees, and they are not free to decide the union they want to belong to.

    “The CTM is not a union, it is an arm of the Mexican government,” Dias said. “It is not taking care of the interests of the workers but of the companies. The workers should have the right to choose which union they belong to. They should have the right to vote on the contract that is negotiated. None of that happens.”

    The explanation behind these abuses, says Dias, is that the Mexican government has allowed its workers to be exploited, because it continues to maintain low wages and has not improved working conditions. This opens the door to domestic and foreign companies exploitation of Mexicans workers.

    “Torex is a Canadian company that is exploiting Mexican workers, but would never think of doing the same in Canada. They cannot do it in Canada, but they can do it in Mexico because the government supports it,” he said.

    In minimum wages, the gap between both countries is enormous. The minimum wage of a worker in Canada is an average of 13 Canadian dollars per hour, that is, $104 CAD per day in an 8-hour day. In Mexico, the minimum wage per day is 80 pesos – less than six Canadian dollars.

    On Tuesday, November 21, the Mexican government announced an increase of 8 pesos (10%) to the minimum wage starting December, an adjustment that will leave the minimum wage below the cost of the basic necessities for one person.

    “A 10% increase of nothing is still nothing. The president of Mexico should be ashamed of himself. He should never be able to look in a mirror and be proud of who he is. The fact is that increasing the minimum wage by 10% means nothing, it will not change anything,” said Dias.

    “What Canada and the United States are saying is: Look, we are not going to do trade with a country that is exploiting its citizens. Because it is not fair for Canadian workers, and not fair for Americans nor for Mexicans,” Dias said.

    He gave as an example the plant that BMW has in San Luis Potosí. In May, Bloomberg announced that the company, with the help of the Mexican government, had reached an agreement with the CTM. The labor contract stipulates that the workers of that plant will have a minimum wage almost half of the average salary of the employees in the Mexican automotive industry.

    “The business community has been very successful in exploiting Mexican workers. Now they’re going to have to move into the 21st century and start paying decent wages to people. You cannot run a company with employees who cannot even pay for the food for their children – it’s ridiculous,” said Dias.

    The Canadian said that because companies will not modify the treatment they give to Mexican workers, a more real possibility is that in NAFTA bases are established so that employees in Canada, the United States and Mexico have similar wages and labor rights.”

    (my translation)

  • dave jones

    trump the dotard. makin’ America dumb again