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Mexico Minister Downplays Trade Deficits

Mexico Minister Downplays Trade DeficitsMexico Minister Downplays Trade Deficits

As the US, Mexico and Canada prepare for another round of negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, Mexico’s economy minister urged the parties to stop fixating on trade deficits between the countries.

The trade disparity between the US and Mexico has been a frequent complaint of President Donald Trump, who has threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he does not get concessions to reduce a US trade deficit of around $64 billion with Mexico, Reuters reported.

But Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo insisted that talks to overhaul the 23-year-old trade accord should not center on trade deficits.

“We cannot continue under these optics that our only measurable objective can be the reduction of commercial deficits,” he said during an interview with local television. “Discussing the theme of the deficit would generate a war of protectionism that would dismantle the advance of the agreement.”

Recently, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross spoke about the relationship between the Canadian, US and Mexican automotive sectors using arguments focused on trade deficits, which he pointed out were not in the United States’ favor.

NAFTA is a key pillar of the Mexican economy, with some 80% of the country’s exports sent to the US. But Guajardo suggested that the demise of the trade agreement could create complications for the US as well. “In the undesirable but possible scenario that the United States leaves the agreement, the possibility that the deficit with Mexico grows is very high.”

The US, Mexico and Canada will hold a fourth round of negotiations from October 11 to October 15 in Washington, DC.

 

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