Business, Government Leaders In Both Sides Of Border Brace For Trade Negotiations

By Jorge Valencia, Rodrigo Cervantes
November 14, 2016
(Photo courtesy of Consejo Coordinator Empresarial)

MEXICO CITY — Business leaders and politicians on both sides of the Mexico-U.S. border are preparing for likely changes in trade policy.

Companies that do business in both countries are bracing themselves ahead of a new U.S. presidency. So Juan Pablo Castañón, head of Mexico’s main association of businesses, is taking an assertive stance.

Castañón met with Mexico’s interior and finance ministers on Friday and pledged support for any re-negotiation of trade agreements, and signed an agreement to help Mexican nationals returning from the U.S. find jobs.

“We trust we can work and renegotiation our treaty to defend employment in Mexico, strengthen our economy and diversify our markets,” Castañón said.  
Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he plans to meet with President-Elect Donald Trump. Peña Nieto said he called Trump to congratulate him and that they agreed to meet, but did not talk about Trump’s promise to build a wall along the border.

Claudia Ruiz Massieu, Mexico’s secretary of foreign affairs, said the Mexican government would take Trump’s promise of a new era of cooperation.

And Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s secretary of the economy, said the Mexican government would discuss the North American Free Trade Agreement with Trump’s team to clarify its importance — but not to renegotiate it.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., it’s likely local governments will give their own input. Jose Andres Garcia, the Phoenix trade representative in Mexico, said he expects the city would give input, given its proximity to the border and business ties to Mexico.
“A lot of industry depends on the Sonora-Arizona border,” Garcia said.
Mexico is the number one export and import partner for the state of Arizona. Phoenix, the state of Arizona and 20 other states have permanent trade representation in Mexico City.