Mexico’s Foreign Minister Says He’d ‘Step Away’ From NAFTA in the Event of a Bad Deal

Mexico is prepared to cut ties with NAFTA if a win-win deal between its three constituent countries cannot be struck, according to Mexican Foreign Relations Minister Luis Videgaray.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV broadcast Thursday, Videgaray said, “If what is on the table is something that is not good for Mexico, Mexico will step away from NAFTA.”

However, he stressed that this would only be a last resort in negotiations he hoped would better the current free trade agreement between the three countries, which also includes the United States and Canada. A new deal should provision for economic changes that have occurred since the more than two-decades-old NAFTA pact was signed, such as the advent of electronic commerce and the liberalization of Mexico’s energy and telecommunications sectors, he said.

Referencing more than 6 million U.S. jobs he said depended directly on being able to access the Mexican market, Videgaray added: “Both parties have leverage with each other. The questions is: Can you pull your leverage without hurting yourself? Probably not. We’re not approaching this in that sense. It should be a constructive process.”

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This is not the first time Mexico has asserted its willingness to step away from NAFTA. Last month, Ildefonso Guajardo, the country’s economy minister warned that Mexico would quit negotiations should the U.S. propose tariffs on products from Mexico.

“The moment that they say, ‘We’re going to put a 20% tariff on cars,’ I get up from the table,” Guajardo told Bloomberg in an interview on Feb. 27.

On Friday, U.S. officials said that the Trump administration was preparing a new executive order to re-examine all 14 U.S. free trade agreements, with NAFTA being top of the list to be reviewed.

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