Mexico Begins 90-Day Consultation Period on NAFTA Changes
The Mexican government officially announced Feb. 3 the initiation of a 90-day period during which it will work with the country’s private sector to define the parameters and objectives of renegotiating NAFTA. According to press reports, Mexico is expecting formal negotiations with Canada and the U.S. to get underway in May.
While Mexican officials referenced a similar process taking place in the U.S., there has been no indication of that yet. Under the United States’ existing trade promotion authority law, the president would have to notify Congress at least 90 days before initiating negotiations aimed at changing NAFTA. While there is some speculation that President Trump might have submitted such a notification on Feb. 6 there was no official confirmation at press time. Trump has been quoted as saying he would like to accelerate the 90-day timeline, but senior leaders of the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees who met with Trump at the White House recently to discuss trade topics said that is unlikely to happen.
It also remains unclear what changes might be sought in a NAFTA renegotiation. Trump recently said he wants to make sure the agreement is “not just free trade” but “free and fair trade” and indicated that this could be accomplished by revising the existing deal or negotiating a new one.