NAFTA Renegotiations Must Involve All Three Members, Officials Say
Canadian and Mexican officials said Feb. 21 that any renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement must involve all three member countries together.
President Trump has said the U.S. only needs to “tweak” NAFTA with respect to Canada but will pursue more substantive changes with Mexico to remedy the “extremely unfair” situation along the southern border. Given that Trump also has an avowed preference for bilateral trade deals, there has been speculation that the U.S. might seek to revamp NAFTA by negotiating with its two trading partners separately or even pursuing individual agreements.
However, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray emphasized that NAFTA is a three-nation agreement and that any changes would have to be addressed in three-way negotiations. Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney acknowledged that “there are times when America is going to want to negotiate directly” with either Mexico or Canada to resolve bilateral matters but predicted that “the broad thrust of the negotiations will remain essentially trilateral.” Mulroney said talk that Ottawa might “throw Mexico under the bus” to preserve favorable trade terms with the U.S. “is for losers, not for winners.”