From the ‘Rhetorical’ Wall to NAFTA, Mexico Has Always Prioritized Trade With US
AP Photo/ Marco UgarteUS20:41 07.11.2017Get short URL
Mexico begins to diversify markets, after fears that the end is nigh for NAFTA. Sputnik spoke to Omar Loera-Gonzalez, specialist on US and Mexican relations at the University of Edinburgh.
Omar Loera-Gonzalez explains how the wall is but a rhetorical instrument, and that US would also lose out if they should ditch Mexico as a trading partner.
Sputnik: Trump is a known cynic of NAFTA. He has vowed to renegotiate NAFTA on terms that are better for the US, but this speech he gave in a rally in Arizona speaks otherwise. Just how much has US lost out in the trade deal with Mexico and Canada?
Omar Loera-Gonzalez: According to some think tanks that are based in the US, 6 million jobs depend on the trade with Mexico. The US sells Mexico billions of dollars’ worth of products each year from electronic products, computers, machinery and agricultural products. It has been beneficial for trade in each of the 3 countries. But the US thinks that these 6 million jobs will suffer if they should stay inside the NAFTA.
Sputnik: So how much does Mexico rely on the US for its systems of imports and exports?
Omar Loera-Gonzalez: Mexico imports about 50% and exports about 80% of its products. Mexico is a large market for the US, but the US is also a major market for Mexico. The importance of NAFTA is great. It has changed the whole economy of Mexico. Mexico went from being a very closed country, with no trade agreements with any countries, to being one of the most open economies in the world. Right now we have 44 trade deals with different countries in the world, not just with the United States or Canada. Each one has made the country into something which we like, something that enhances its economic development.
Sputnik: How can Mexico protect itself against the fall of NAFTA, either by diversifying its markets, or by producing more within the country?
Omar Loera-Gonzalez: There is a debate right now in Mexico, over what should be done next. Some people think we have to fortify our domestic markets. But even before NAFTA, the United States has been the predominant market for Mexico. Just on geography alone, it is extremely important.
Mexico has been trying for a century to diversify its market, but has constantly failed in their endeavors. The closeness for our logical market has been something that Mexico has been keen to exploit since the start of NAFTA, and so Mexico has always prioritized their trade with the United States.
Sputnik: Do you think the wall that Trump is building could affect trade?
Omar Loera-Gonzalez: The wall is a rhetorical instrument made by Trump in his campaign. Most families consider the construction of the wall to be unviable. It is a threat instrument, from Trump to the Government of Mexico. It is one thing to say it, and another thing to actually do it.