Unfreeze NAFTA, Mexico's great challenge to a treaty that seems to sink

With almost completely paralyzed topics and the permanent pressure of the United States, the fifth round of negotiations to update the NAFTA is very complex and with few possibilities of advance in the renewal of the commercial agreement, experts told Efe today.

Mexico, Nov 16 (EFE) .- With issues almost completely paralyzed and permanent pressure from the United States, the fifth round of negotiations to update NAFTA is very complex and with few possibilities of advancing in the renewal of the commercial agreement, experts told Efe today.

"We are already in the subjects ríspidos and where we are not going to agree, because there is no will, "Manuel Valencia, specialist in International Business at Tecnológico de Monterrey, explained to Efe.

Despite the progress made in chapters such as small and medium company (SME) or phytosanitary measures, in meetings to date between Mexico, USA or the rules of origin, which seek to enhance the regional origin of the products.

"It is a question of establishing and bringing up all these issues on a hypothetical scale, and in some cases giving way, and in others not, "said Valencia, who however does not foresee great achievements in this fifth round, which takes place from November 17 to 21 in Mexico City.

For the independent senator Dolores Padierna, member of a group of eight legislators that accompanies the Executive in the negotiation, this fifth meeting should touch those "stuck" (paralyzed) issues in the US agenda, after reaching consensus on "very important" issues.

Among the most controversial issues is the US request to increase regional content in automobiles; from 62.5% to 85%, with a 50% share of the northern neighbor.

A decision that, if it were to occur, "would increase the price of automobiles in the region and would have an impact strong for Mexico, "said the senator, who recalled that today only 4% of automotive production has Mexican content.

The legislator said that this proposal will be predictably accepted by the Executive, despite being "unacceptable".

In this round will also discuss about Chapter 19, dispute resolution, or the elimination of the opening of cross-border transportation by road, a topic that began to be discussed in the previous meeting.

"It is unacceptable that the United States wants to erase a 12-year negotiation, and also imply a cost of logistics for all Mexican exports, "lamented Padierna.

clause will also discuss" sunset "review that would force this treaty in force since 1994 every five years and would cause it to be suspended if any of its three members did not agree to extend it.

This clause "does not give long-term certainty to the investments. Kalach.

Something more optimistic, the businessman explained that the employer continues to strengthen ties with the US counterpart to ensure the continuity of this treaty, which today Mexico depends enormously.

"We expect a fifth round of progress (...) on issues with more aligned positions," said the representative of the CCE, entity that is part of the so-called "fourth together "and made up of companies and experts who advise the Mexican negotiating team.

In recent weeks, the rhetoric of the White House chief, Donald Trump, and his team has been hardened more if possible.

This Tuesday, the US Secretary of Commerce, Wilbur Ross, warned that the breakdown of NAFTA would be especially "devastating" for Mexico.

"In reality they are pushing to win things, "said the senator.

Meanwhile, Valencia considered that the United States would have left NAFTA if they wanted to, and attributed this hard rifirrafe to a political negotiation, more than commercial.

For the expert, before this foreseeable paralysis of the negotiations, a timetable should be proposed. agreements come into operation in installments, including the issues under discussion.

After the expansion of the space between negotiation rounds, the three parties expect modernization to culminate in March 2018, prior to the Mexican presidential elections of July 1.

A rush that does not convince the specialists. elections, explained Valencia, who requested greater tranquility.

For Kalach, "the quality of the negotiation is more important, rather than the speed", to achieve "quality".

" Secretary (of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo) who stops suffering, let this (the NAFTA) to after the elections. Padierna.