Blanco, left, and Gortari: not enough allies. Blanco, left, and Gortari: not enough allies.

In the White House Mexico has no allies

Former chief negotiator of NAFTA recalls all three countries wanted free trade

Mexico has no allies in the White House, the former chief negotiator of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) said yesterday, underscoring the difficulties the government faces in the renegotiation of the treaty and President Donald Trump’s scathing rhetoric against it.

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Herminio Blanco, secretary of trade from 1994 to 2000 and a key NAFTA architect, made the comment while attending the launch of a new book about the 23-year-old agreement.

Written by former president Carlos Salinas de Gortari, who was in office when NAFTA took effect, the book traces the history of the free-trade treaty including the negotiation process in the years preceding its implementation.

According to Blanco, the title chosen by the ex-president is fitting.

“The title, Allies and Adversaries, is very good.  In that [initial] negotiation, we had allies . . . in the renegotiation we are having [now], of which the fifth round was held this week, we have allies in Congress, we have allies in the [U.S.] public sector but unfortunately, we don’t have allies in the executive branch,” he said.

United States President Donald Trump has made it clear that he is no fan of the agreement and even went as far to label NAFTA “the single worst trade deal ever approved in this country” while on the campaign trail last year.

Since taking office, he has maintained his hardline rhetoric and threatened to pull out of the agreement on several occasions if it cannot be reworked to his liking.

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The tough stance adopted by the U.S. stands in contrast to the original negotiations, Blanco reiterated.

“. . . The three countries wanted free trade and today it’s not like that. We were adversaries only with regard to the methods to get to a free trade [agreement and] the timeframes . . .” he said.

Blanco also emphasized the importance of the agreement in setting a precedent that led to greater trade liberalization around the world.

“Before the agreement the world was one thing, [then] it awoke. There was an epidemic of free trade agreements around the world, a large network was created and it was all because of the agreement that was negotiated between Mexico, the United States and Canada, that’s its value,” he said.

Salinas de Gortari also took a swipe at what is seen as the United States’ uncompromising position although he acknowledged that the agreement needed to be updated.

“Today with the change that has occurred in the economic structure, modernization [of NAFTA] is as indispensable as it is inevitable, just not for the reasons they [the U.S.] are demanding,” he said.

“When the agreement was negotiated there was no internet . . . there was no trend towards artificial intelligence or the dramatic change that has emerged in the global financial structure,” he added.

Salinas also said that Mexico was previously considered a solution to the United States’ insatiable appetite for economic growth rather than a problem. Given that the U.S. has a much larger debt to China than to Mexico, there is no justification for the U.S. to pull out of NAFTA, he added.

Representatives from the three countries will attend an intersessional meeting in Washington next month where they will aim to make headway on contentious issues before reconvening for the sixth round of formal talks in Montreal, Canada, in late January.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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  • DreadFool

    A poco?! In the White House Mexico has no allies…And there are square dancing Americans in Los Pinos?

  • Güerito

    Former President Carlos Salinas de Gortari is, without a doubt, the most hated and ridiculed person in Mexico.

    After his term in office he literally had to flee the country. Even today, to imply that a Mexican is somehow close to or sympathetic toward Salinas is a serious aspersion.

    • Mike S

      Salinas was a rotten one indeed. However, he was a Harvard educated economist and had some good ideas. His personal level of corruption and those close to him was toxic. Book would be an interesting read nonetheless.

  • dave jones

    americans have no allies in the white house either

    • ben

      there are too many obama holdovers. sorry to lose steve bannon, gorka. they need to fire the muslim brotherhood.

  • Fester N Boyle

    Mexico is no ally of the US, Mexico has aided and abetted the migration of millions of Central Americans into the US, along with the millions of their own citizens the US hosts. And Mexico is a lawless narco state run by Corruptocrats that cannot control their own territory.

    The US should seize the northern Mexican states as a buffer zone, build the wall from Monterrey to Mazatlan, and impose US culture and lawfulness on this area, by resettling all the illegals in the US there.

    • ben

      you made my day, great minds think alike.

    • Lloyd Le Blanc

      US culture ? REALLY.

      Guns, drugs, highest rate of prison inmates in the world,invades any country it wants to.
      How many civilians have they killed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan?
      For profit health care ,highest in the world and 17th in care.Largest military spending in the world.
      I could go on ….

      US culture ???

  • alance

    That sucking sound you hear is the sound of US jobs going to Mexico.
    Ross Perot

    • Lloyd Le Blanc

      Give statistics not unfounded opinions.

      If you could you would see that there has been a net benefit to the Excited States.

      The world does not revolve around the us !

  • Lloyd Le Blanc

    Impossible to ” negotiate” with an ignorant bully.

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