U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the trade ministers from Canada and Mexico are not in Washington DC this weekend; however the trade staff from all three nations stayed in DC working to finalize agreement on NAFTA with increased urgency.
The nation pushing hardest to complete an agreement quickly is Mexico. The Mexican national election is July 1st and the soft-Marxist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AM LO) has increased his lead. AM LO is now 22 points ahead of his next closest competitor. Lopez Obrador, a self-described Hugo Chavez ideologue, is guaranteed to win – and Mexico will become Venezuela 2.0 within five years.
The looming Mexican election, and the radical political departure therein, means if a deal is not made soon, there will be no deal.
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will likely nationalize large segments of the Mexican economy for more progressive wealth distribution…. Enter, quickly, and with a transparency in their desperation, the multinational corporations who have already invested hundreds of billions into Mexican ports, transportation infrastructure, raw material procurement contracts, manufacturing/processing and assembly facilities, and all around exploitation of NAFTA as a tariff-free, profit-driven, back-door to the U.S market…
Yes, as oft repeated, there are trillions at stake.
Despite the framing of the media, it is the multinational corporations driving the Mexican time-line now, not the current Mexican government or Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.
The current heads of Mexican government are fully immersed in their overseas contingency operations; ie. finding safe homes and schools for their families -and their wealth- where stability can be more assured. It is the multinational corporations who cannot move their assets out of Mexico so easily – they are the ones driving the urgency behind the NAFTA talks.
MEXICO – The chief negotiators are scheduled to meet again Tuesday.
Ruiz said the three countries have agreed that the so-called sunset clause — proposed and pushed by the United States — will not automatically lead to the termination of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated every five years.
Instead, it will act as a review mechanism that allows a country to leave the agreement if it is not happy with the results, he said.
With respect to rules of origin as they apply to the automotive industry, probably the most important — and contentious — issue in the negotiations, analysts expect that the three countries will agree to set regional content levels between 70 and 75%.
That range is higher than the current 62.5% content level in order for a vehicle to qualify for tariff-free status but lower than the 85% the United States wanted.
“It’s not that Mexico has given in; what it has done in the face of the United States’ interests is to look for a formula that brings us closer to them,” Ruiz said.
The three countries have previously pledged to speed up the negotiations as much as possible to avoid clashing with domestic political processes.
However, the official campaign period for Mexico’s presidential election has already started and voters will go to the polls in 10 weeks.
On his way into a meeting yesterday, Guajardo told reporters “we are basically working very hard, but I think there’s still a lot of work to do.”
After the meeting, he said that the three countries will need to be flexible to get a new deal quickly, adding that it was unlikely an agreement that only focused on the auto industry would be announced because the aim of the talks is a wide-ranging agreement.
[…] a large business delegation will be present in the U.S. capital this weekend to support Mexico’s negotiating team.
“The whole team is flying . . . to be in Washington, we expect at least 150 to 200 business chamber representatives [to be there],” he said. (read more)