Mexico consults private sector before NAFTA talks: president

Mexico consults private sector before NAFTA talks: president

MEXICO CITY, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — Mexican officials have begun to consult private business leaders in the lead-up to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with the United States, President Enrique Pena Nieto said on Wednesday.

Mexico, like its NAFTA partner, will consult the private sector for a period of 90 days, after which bilateral talks with the United States will begin, Pena Nieto said at an official event.

“We are launching a process agreed with the government of the United States, which is also starting (consultations), as part of the constructive dialogue that is needed to build the new framework for ties between Mexico and the United States,” said Pena Nieto.

Trump wanted to renegotiate the two-decade-old agreement signed by Mexico, the United States and Canada, claiming it has unfairly benefited Mexico at the expense of U.S. workers.

Former Mexican President Carlos Salinas de Gortari, whose government negotiated NAFTA, on Tuesday defended the agreement in an article.

In the article titled “Mexico and the U.S. must realize that NAFTA is the solution, not the problem,” Salinas said “rather than undermining NAFTA,” the three countries “must work together to reinforce it.”

“Destabilizing relations with Mexico will certainly damage the dynamic region built around … NAFTA, and it won’t improve U.S. competitiveness vis-a-vis other regions,” he added.