According to Yahoo News, officials from the United States, Mexico, and Canada said this week that the negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would extend into 2018. The extension is not an auspicious sign for a deal, and the Trump administration has already said that he will “probably” end up terminating the agreement.
In U.S. circles, thoughts on NAFTA’s long-term prospects have become more grave of late, but the tone is very different south of the border. As some U.S. business leaders lobby for NAFTA, their Mexican counterparts have already completely moved on — months ago.
“Psychologically, Mexico has already accepted that NAFTA is coming to an end,” said Jorge Guajardo, former Mexican ambassador to China from 2007 to 2013 who now consults for both Mexican and American companies. “You have President Trump posturing and negotiating as if Mexico’s life depends on NAFTA. Mexico is like, ‘we’ve already walked away.’”
This week, Guajardo met with three prominent CEOs of Mexican multinational conglomerates who were in Washington, D.C., to speak on a pro-NAFTA panel.
“They couldn’t be more blasé about the whole NAFTA pullout,” he told Yahoo Finance. Despite the CEOs’ reason for coming, they were circumspect. The attitude was that “Mexico will take a little beating, but we’re used to it — dealing with economic crisis,” Guajardo said.
The Mexican population writ-large may not view NAFTA particularly favorably — many see it as a bad deal in a history of bad deals with its bullying northern neighbor. But business leaders in Mexico generally have a favorable outlook on the agreement, said Guajardo, making their attitude even more striking.
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