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Mexico says it will discuss, but not renegotiate, NAFTA with Trump

By Andrew V. Pestano
Mexico says it will discuss, but not renegotiate, NAFTA with Trump
Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo on Thursday said the Mexican government is willing to discuss, but not renegotiate, the North American Free Trade Agreement with the upcoming administration of Donald Trump. Photo courtesy of Ildefonso Guajardo

MEXICO CITY, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- The Mexican government said it will explain the "strategic importance" of the North American Free Trade Agreement to U.S. President-elect Donald Trump, who has vowed to renegotiate or withdraw from the deal.

"We're ready to talk so we can explain the strategic importance of NAFTA for the region," Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Thursday, according to El Universal. "Here we're not talking about ... renegotiating it, we're simply talking about dialogue."

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NAFTA was signed by President Bill Clinton and ratified by both houses of Congress in 1993. It went into effect the next year, in 1994, liberalizing trade among the three North American countries: The United States, Canada and Mexico. The trade agreement reduced or eliminated tariffs on most products, creating one of the world's largest free trade zones, and aimed to help small businesses by lowering costs and reducing bureaucracy in trade.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also said he would discuss the trade deal.

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"If the Americans want to talk about NAFTA, I'm more than happy to talk about it," Trudeau said.

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Trump has vowed to "renegotiate NAFTA or withdraw from the deal under Article 2205" within his first 100 days in office. Trump has repeatedly said NAFTA is a "bad deal" that has harmed Americans while benefiting Mexico and Canada.

In 2015, the U.S. Congressional Research Service said NAFTA's effects were neither damaging nor helpful.

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"In reality, NAFTA did not cause the huge job losses feared by the critics or the large economic gains predicted by supporters," the independent report said. "The net overall effect of NAFTA on the U.S. economy appears to have been relatively modest, primarily because trade with Canada and Mexico accounts for a small percentage of U.S. GDP."

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