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Canada, Mexico And U.S. Will Expedite NAFTA Negotiations

MEXICO CITY.- The first round of renegotiations of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ended last week in Washington, D.C., and Canada, Mexico and the United States committed to coming up with a revised treaty quickly. 

In a statement published on Sunday, the Canadian, Mexican and American delegations said they are willing to expedite their revision.

It was five days of meetings covering more than two dozen different topics during the first round. Some of the issues have been forever on the agreement, like the framework for trade and investments. Others were new, like the idea to include a human rights chapter.

But this was just the starting point, as the meetings focused on defining the guidelines.

José Luis de la Cruz is the director of the Institute of Industrial Development and Economic Growth in Mexico. Like other analysts, he thinks speeding up the negotiations has a political reason.

“President Trump considers NAFTA’s renegotiation relevant, as his position has worn out and this could give him some votes." De la Cruz said. "While in Mexico I think there’s the expectation that the 2018 presidential elections might affect the results of the negotiations, as well.”

De la Cruz said it is possible to have a revised NAFTA by the end of the year. However, the problem will be if the result will be equally beneficial for everyone.

“We need to keep an eye on the results that the U.S. expects from the negotiation. If they want an in-depth revision, for example including labor discussions, three or four months might be too tight and complicated,” De la Cruz said.

There is no final date defined to end the revision of NAFTA, but the three partners will reconvene in Mexico City in the first week of September for a second round of talks.

Rodrigo Cervantes was KJZZ’s bureau chief in Mexico City from 2016 to 2021.