Mexico’s economy minister says odds of a Nafta deal ‘in principle’ at 80%

From: Market Watch / 9 April

Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said in a TV interview on Monday that the likelihood of signing a renegotiated pact ‘in principle’ on the North American Free Trade Agreement is about 80%. Guajardo, however, said he didn’t expect a Nafta deal would be struck this week, but would likely be signed around the first week of May. He speculated that the U.S. and would be inclined to complete a deal ahead of coming midterm elections. Nafta negotiators are currently meeting in Washington, D.C., for their eighth round of talks. Last week, President Donald Trump said he was looking for a deal in principle at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, next week. The Mexican peso USDMXN, -0.3324% which started Monday’s session weaker, climbed 0.2% higher versus the dollar, with one buck fetching 18.2450 pesos. The iShares MSCI Mexico ETF EWW, +1.29% was up 0.5% in response.

From: Market Watch / 9 April



A closer look at round seven of the NAFTA negotiations

FROM: Lexology / Dentons / 19 de marzo de 2018


Round seven of the NAFTA negotiations concluded in Mexico City on March 5, 2018. The talks ended with United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer, indicating that the US is prepared to walk away from NAFTA and replace it with separate bilateral agreements. He urged the parties to finish the negotiations quickly, “Now our time is running very short…I fear the longer we proceed, the more political headwinds we will feel.”1 Lighthizer alluded to several ‘political headwinds’ that could impact the future of negotiations, including the presidential election in Mexico, provincial elections in Ontario and Quebec, and the US midterm elections.

The talks were impacted midweek by an announcement from President Trump that his Administration would impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. The proposed tariff would be 25% for steel imports and 10% for aluminum imports.

The proposed tariff triggered controversy within the Republican Party and the Administration itself. US House Speaker Paul Ryan, backed by a number of Republicans who support the President, has urged President Trump to back away from threats of a tariff, fearing that it could spark a trade war.2 In a letter to the President, 107 House Republicans wrote, “We urge you to reconsider the idea of broad tariffs to avoid unintended consequences to the U.S. economy and its workers.”3 On March 6, Gary Cohn, President Trump’s economic advisor, resigned. Cohn was a voice of free trade in a White House that is ambiguous at best on trade agreements.4

While the tariffs announced by President Trump ultimately excluded Canada and Mexico “for now”, the threat of tariffs proposal loomed over the remainder of the negotiations. Reportedly, the proposed tariff was the starting point for many discussions and was often referred to as “the elephant in the room”.5 The tariff proposal further impacted negotiations when President Trump linked the tariffs to the NAFTA negotiations. On March 5, he tweeted “Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed”.6 Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland responded in her closing remarks by saying “Canada would view any trade restrictions on Canadian steel or aluminum as absolutely unacceptable.”7 Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo responded by tweeting “Mexico shouldn’t be included in steel & aluminum tariffs. It is the wrong way to incentivize the creation of a new and modern #NAFTA”.8 On March 7, President Trump announced that he would initially exclude Canada and Mexico from the proposed tariff. However, the exemption could be rescinded if Canada and Mexico do not agree to an updated NAFTA.9

Notwithstanding the short term exemption on steel, supported by the Steelworkers and Speaker Ryan, President Trump again tweeted on March 5 on the Canadian farm system and how Canada “must treat [US] farmers much better.” Thus, US agricultural demands remain on the table, while Canada continues to steadfastly defend its agricultural sector, including the supply management system. Whether and how the negotiators will successfully bridge this issue remains to be seen.

Limited progress was made in other areas, such as the rules of origin provisions. Jason Bernstein, the US negotiator for rules of origin, was called back to Washington on February 26 to consult with US industry representatives, thus halting negotiations. Talks amongst technical experts are scheduled to resume in advance of the next formal round of negotiations. Similarly, investor-state dispute mechanisms and the proposed sunset clause were not emphasized this round.

With respect to energy, we understand there is agreement to include both a standalone chapter on energy as well as energy related sections in other chapters. The standalone chapter, because it will likely include Mexico unlike certain energy provisions in the current NAFTA, will focus on “more interconnectivity across the networks of energy in North America” and will seek to recognize the changes Mexico has made to allow for foreign investment in its energy sector. 10

Negotiators did close a number of smaller chapters, including regulatory practices, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, and telecommunications. Additionally, Steve Verheul, Canada’s chief negotiator, commented that the parties were close to completing sections on technical barriers but required more time on sections regarding the environment.11 While reportedly half of the chapters are between 80-90% settled, Lighthizer commented that only 6 of NAFTA’s 30 chapters have been officially closed.

With respect to the sanitary and phytosanitary chapter that governs food safety, negotiators have settled on a fast-track system that would prioritize requests between the US, Mexico and Canada. This system is a first of its kind in international food safety agreements. Minister Guajardo said the chapter will help facilitate agricultural trade and it “guarantees animal and vegetable sanitation based in science.”12Additionally, sector annexes on proprietary food formulas and chemicals were closed this round. The annex protects the intellectual property of certain mixes and ingredients and allows for more regulatory cooperation for the use of chemicals. 13

The eighth round of NAFTA talks is expected to take place in Washington in April, subject to availability of Ministers who are traveling for other international meetings, including the upcoming Free Trade Area of the Americas summit.14



FROM: Lexology / Dentons / 19 de marzo de 2018

Energy Reform Could Generate $1T in Foreign Investment for Mexico by 2040

FROM:  Natural Gas Intelligence / Ronald Buchanan / 19 de marzo de 2018


Mexico’s energy reform could generate $1 trillion of direct foreign investment by 2040, said leaders of the industry lobby, Mexican Association of Hydrocarbon Companies, earlier this month.

The association, known by its Spanish acronym Amexhi, was presenting its Agenda 2040, a huge volume that reviews the industry’s past, from its origins at the beginning of last century; the present, including current uncertainties; and a future through 2040 that would “transform Mexico.”

Amexhi President Alberto de la Fuente admitted that the investment goal is ambitious.

The Agenda presupposes that power and hydrocarbons would account for  4% of gross domestic product by the target date. And, de la Fuente emphasized, it would require accurate instrumentation of the reform’s precepts, “as well as the resolution of challenges that are a legacy of the previous model.”

The defense of the Agenda would require four watchwords, he added: “Steadfastness, competence, transparency and knowledge.”

Amexhi has taken pains to remain neutral during the current campaigns for Mexico’s July 1 presidential election.

“All the candidates have shown interesting elements in their policy statements,” said Enrique Hidalgo, president of ExxonMobil Exploracion y Produccion Mexico, and the coordinator of Agenda 2040.

Some of the industry group’s sympathizers, however, have claimed that the pronouncements of the current leader in the race, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who helms the left wing nationalist Morena party, has been less than steadfast in support of the reform. They also claim that his proposal for new refineries show a lack of understanding of the industry.

At the moment, the No. 2 in the race is Ricardo Anaya, leader of the National Action Party, the traditionally pro-business PAN. But Anaya has yet to issue any policy statements on energy.

Anaya also has embraced policies of left-wingers with whom he has formed an alliance. With them, he signed a statement of “No to the gasolinazo” — the liberation of gasoline prices.

Running third in the opinion polls is senior technocrat Jose Antonio Meade of the incumbent Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI. Meade was hand-picked by President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Meade’s loyalty to the energy reform has not been questioned. However, his loyalty to Peña Nieto has so far placed a political millstone around his neck. Pena Nieto is said to be the most unpopular Mexican president since political opinion polls were first published in the nation late in the 20th century as its democratic era began to dawn.

The democratic dawn has begun late for the former state monopolies of oil and natural gas, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) and power, Comision Federal de Electricidad, the CFE.

Neither is free to set a budget, as Congress and the Finance ministry keep a tight grip on their spending. The Pemex and CFE unions, particularly that of Pemex, have corporate powers that go well beyond the defense of the interests of the workers in terms of pay and conditions.

The challenge are considerable, said senior analyst Arturo Carranza of Mexico’s National Institute of Public Administration. But, he added, the rewards are realistic.

Agenda 2040 proposes 15 bid rounds to lease oil and gas acreage. Since the 2013-14 reform was enacted, there have been two rounds featuring eight separate completed lease auctions. Three auctions are currently underway for the third round.

“But the pace has been stepped up and it can be pushed further,” Carranza said. “The country’s potential is beyond question for the industry. And the government has to do its part by identifying opportunities that the companies can grasp. In return, it can reap the benefits, such as royalties, on behalf of the nation.

“At the same time, the government has to cast off the restrictions on the budgets of Pemex and the CFE,” he added.

De la Fuente said at the presentation that about 80% of the nation’s oilfields are currently in decline, “but the best tool that’s available to revert the trend is the energy reform.”



FROM:  Natural Gas Intelligence / Ronald Buchanan / 19 de marzo de 2018

Mexico Economy Minister: NAFTA Must Remain Trilateral Accord

FROM: Voa News / Reuters / 3 de marzo de 2018

MEXICO CITY — Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo on Tuesday rejected making a bilateral trade treaty with the United States, saying the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is currently being renegotiated, must remain a three-country accord.

On Monday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said time to rework the deal was running “very short” and again raised the possibility of the United States pursuing bilateral deals with its partners, while stressing that Washington would prefer a three-way agreement.

NAFTA “has to be a trilateral accord, given the conditions of integration in North America,” Guajardo said in an interview with the Televisa network on Tuesday. “It must be that way.”

Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico’s presidential election and the looming expiry of a congressional negotiating authorization in July puts the onus on the United States, Mexico and Canada to come up with a plan soon.

The latest round of talks have been clouded, however, by U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans to launch metals tariffs. On Monday, Trump tweeted that “tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed.”

Guajardo said on Tuesday that if the U.S. government were to push ahead with metals tariffs that included Mexico, the country would be forced to respond with politically targeted tit-for-tat responses.

“There’s a list (of U.S. products) that we are analyzing internally, but we won’t make it public, we’re going to wait,” Guajardo said.

He also said that in a meeting in Washington last week, in which he met Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, he told the U.S. official that Mexico should not be included in the proposed tariffs.

“We’re allies in national security … our industries are highly integrated, we buy more (U.S.) steel than we sell, and so there’s no point in shooting oneself in the foot,” he said.



FROM: Voa News / Reuters / 3 de marzo de 2018

The economic relationship between Mexico and the United States

FROM: Oup Blog / Roderic Al Camp / 17 de febrero de 2018

Mexico and the United States share a highly integrated economic relationship. There seems to be an assumption among many Americans, including officials in the current administration, that the relationship is somehow one-sided, that is, that Mexico is the sole beneficiary of commerce between the two countries. Yet, economic benefits to both countries are extensive.

Mexico has played a significant role in the rapid expansion of US exports in the 1990s and 2000s. It alternated between the second and third most important trade partner of the United States in the last decade. In 2014, the United States exported a total of $240 billion worth of goods to Mexico, with the largest  products coming from the computers and electronics, transportation, petroleum, and machinery sectors. By contrast, China only purchased $124 billion of US exports. Exports to Mexico accounted for approximately 1,344,000 jobs in the United States.

California alone, boasting the eighth largest economy in the world, exported more than 15% of its products to Mexico by 2014, exceeding what it trades with Canada, Japan, or China. As of 2014, Mexico’s purchases of California exports supported nearly 200,000 jobs in the state. In fact, 17% of all export-supported jobs in California, which account for a fifth of all individuals employed in the state, are linked to the state’s economic relationship with Mexico. More than half of those export-related positions can be traced to the North American Free Trade Agreement. California and Texas – the two largest economies in the United States, and two of the three largest state/provincial economies in the world – are significantly influenced economically by Mexico.

In 2014, a heavy portion of exports from six US states were purchased by Mexico: 41% in Arizona, 41% in New Mexico, 36% in Texas, 25% in New Hampshire, 23% in South Dakota, and 23% in Nebraska. As Senator John McCain noted several weeks ago, the Trump administration’s decision to renegotiate, rather than withdraw from NAFTA, prevented a horrific economic impact on Arizona. The GDP of the United States and Mexican border states accounts for a fourth of the national economy of both countries combined, exceeding the GDP of all the countries in the world except for the United States, Japan, China, and Germany.

The United States provides the single largest amount of direct foreign investment in Mexico, but what I want to stress, and to educate Americans about, is that Mexican entrepreneurs and venture capitalists invest heavily in the United Sates. By 2013, Mexico had invested $33 billion, the only emerging economy among the top fifteen countries with direct foreign investments in the United States. In 2015, Pemex, the government oil company, opened the first retail gasoline station in the United States, in Houston, and plans on opening four more in that city. This is a pilot project to test the American market nationally. OXXO, another Mexican firm, has opened two convenience stores in Texas, and plans on investing $850 million to open 900 stores in the United States.

Finally, Mexico also influences the US economy through tourism in the same way that American tourists play a central role in Mexico’s economy. In 2014, 75 million foreigners visited the United States, generating $221 billion dollars. Canada accounts for the largest number of visitors each year, followed by Mexico, which provided 17 million tourists in 2014, who spent $19 billion. Along the border, at the end of the decade, Mexican visitors generated somewhere around $8 billion to $9 billion dollars in sales and supported approximately 150,000 jobs.

Another way to look at the relationship between Mexico and the United States is through cultural influences.  Mexico exerts impact through music, food, film, and language. For example, there are multiple fast-food chains that spe­cialize in Mexican food. Grocery stores stock more items originating from Mexico than any other ethnic cuisine in the world, including beers, beans, hot sauces, peppers, and torti­llas. Corona is the best-selling foreign beer in the United States. Mexican foods such as guacamole and caesar salad are so com­monplace that they have lost their identity as Mexican cuisine.

The use of Spanish words and Mexican slang is evident in ev­eryday language in the United States; such terms range from “mano a mano” to “macho,” “enchilada” to “margarita,” and “rancho” to “hacienda.” According to a Pew Center study in 2011, 38 million individuals in the United States five years or older showed that the majority of them were Mexican, and were speaking Spanish at home. Spanish is also the most widely spoken non-English language among Americans who are not from a Hispanic country. The size of the Spanish-speaking audience in the United States has also influenced the growth of Mexican films. The musical influence has kept pace with cuisine. In 2010, the New Yorker magazine ran an extensive article about Los Tigres del Norte, a musical group from San Jose, California, who represent the norteño musical style. They boast a huge following among music fans. Selena, who died two decades ago, has sold more than 60 million albums, including songs representing the mariachi and ranch­era genres, and the number of copies of her posthumous best-selling album of all time, Dreaming of You, reached five million by 2015. Among young adults (18 to 34 years of age) who listen to the radio, Mexican regional music ranks seventh in popularity.

The relationship between the United States and Mexico has become more complex over time, incorporating cultural, musical, economic, familial, political, and security relationships beneficial to both countries and its citizens. But the most dramatic change in those many facets of our relationship with each other is the degree to which Mexico’s impact on and within the United States has grown in importance. Equally important to consider is that in spite of President Trump’s public criticisms of Mexico, our relationship at numerous levels, public and private, remains strong.



FROM: Oup Blog / Roderic Al Camp / 17 de febrero de 2018

Mexico’s economy rebounds in fourth quarter as elections loom

FROM: Reuters / Michael O´Boyle / 30 de enero de 2018


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s economy bounced back more than expected in the fourth quarter, according to preliminary data, but signs of slowing growth could feed discontent ahead of the presidential election in July.

Gross domestic product in Latin America’s second-biggest economy grew around 1.0 percent in seasonally adjusted terms in the October-December period, compared with the previous quarter, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday.

A Reuters poll had forecast an expansion of 0.6 percent. The economy rebounded after shrinking 0.3 percent in the third quarter as the country recovered from two devastating earthquakes that dented activity in the July-September period.

Higher interest rates and persistent inflation could weigh on consumer demand that helped support the Mexican economy last year amid uncertainty around U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to pull out of a free-trade deal with Mexico.

It is still unclear if Mexico, Canada and the United States will be able to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), adding to concerns about the outcome of Mexico’s presidential race, which a leftist candidate leads in the polls.

“Important investment decisions may potentially be postponed, scaled down or even canceled,” Goldman Sachs economist Alberto Ramos wrote in a note to clients.

Data showed that the industrial sector edged up 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the prior quarter, crimped by a decline in oil production.

Agriculture grew 3.1 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis while services grew 1.2 percent.

Mexico’s central bank is expected to hike interest rates again in February to contain a surge in inflation. Higher prices and more expensive loans could weigh on consumer demand, analysts said.

Mexico’s economy grew 1.8 percent in unadjusted terms compared with the same quarter a year earlier, the agency said.

For full-year 2017, the economy expanded at an unadjusted 2.1 percent rate, down from 2.9 percent in 2016. That is the lowest annual rate of expansion since 2013, President Enrique Pena Nieto’s first full year in office.

”The Mexican economy is surviving rather than thriving,” said Neil Shearing, an economist at Capital Economics.

Pena Nieto promised to boost Mexico’s anemic growth rates by passing major economic reforms, such as opening the energy sector to private investment. But an oil price slump sabotaged hopes to supercharge growth, as Pena Nieto had promised.

Slack growth could fuel support for opposition candidates in the July 1 election.

A poll on Monday showed leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador consolidated support in his bid for the Mexican presidency, but the race has tightened as another opposition contender gained ground while the ruling party trailed.



FROM: Reuters / Michael O´Boyle / 30 de enero de 2018

Mexico’s finance minister isn’t worried about a ‘plan B’ for NAFTA

FROM: CNBC / Natasha Turak / 25 de Enero de 2018


Mexico’s Finance Minister Jose Antonio Anaya appeared confident in the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), telling CNBC Wednesday that dialogue between the trade partners was ongoing.

“Our central scenario is that this will go to a good deal,” Anaya said while at the World Economic Forum at Davos. “We believe trade is good for all three nations, and that’s what we’re hoping for.”

Asked about a potential “plan B” if the U.S. chooses to terminate the deal, Anaya stuck to a positive note, avoiding any doomsday scenarios.

Anaya’s Davos appearance coincides with the sixth and penultimate round of NAFTA negotiations currently underway in Montreal, Canada.

The 24-year-old agreement is now in jeopardy unless Canada and Mexico satisfy U.S. demands for changes to the deal. President Donald Trump maligned NAFTA during his presidential campaign, claiming it hurt American jobs, and threatened to abandon it altogether if his administration’s needs are not met.

NAFTA, which eliminated tariffs across territory encompassing 450 million people, has been a lifeline for Mexican jobs. Asked about the likelihood of a U.S. pullout, Anaya was vague.

“It’s hard to say, but … What we can say about the NAFTA negotiations is that there’s dialogue and there’s a process,” he said. Anaya took up the ministerial position in late 2017, after two years at the helm of state-owned oil company Pemex.

He echoed Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who spoke to CNBC earlier in the week, expressing confidence in the agreement’s preservation.

“Let us work on plan A,” Anaya said. “Plan A is that NAFTA has been good for Mexico, good for the United States, and good for Canada. That’s the way we see it, and we’re going to continue to work on a new version that is also good for all of us.”

“We want to keep it as a trilateral deal, and we’ve always worked on that front,” the minister continued. “The dialogue is going on, and that’s what we should bet on.”

Since the deal’s signing in 1994, U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) into Mexico has increased from $15 billion to more than $100 billion, and regional trade has expanded from $290 billion to $1.1 trillion. Some 14 million American jobs depend on trade with Mexico and Canada, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Disagreements persist over the negative impact of the trade pact on the American economy. Washington D.C.-based think tank Public Citizen has reported the deal led to the loss of up to 1 million U.S. jobs and a $181 billion trade deficit with Mexico and Canada.

The bulk of U.S. jobs lost were in former manufacturing hubs like Michigan and Texas, states that went to Trump in the 2016 election.



FROM: CNBC / Natasha Turak / 25 de Enero de 2018

RBC boss says chances of NAFTA being scrapped are rising

FROM: Thomson Reuters / 9 de Enero de 2018

TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada’s Chief Executive Dave McKay said on Tuesday he believes there is now a greater chance that the North American Free Trade Agreement could be scrapped.

“I think the probabilities are increasing that you’ll have some type of dynamic where there is an announcement of a scrapping of NAFTA,” he said at a Canadian Bank CEO conference hosted by RBC in Toronto.

Canadian bankers have expressed concern about the progress of talks to rework the trade agreement and how renegotiations could hamper the ability of clients to do business with customers in the United States and Mexico.

McKay said he agreed with other business leaders and the Canadian government that no deal would be better than a bad deal.

“We don’t want to be stuck long-term with a deal that hurts our economy,” he said.

McKay also said RBC, Canada’s biggest bank by market value, is now spending $3 billion a year developing new technologies. The bank is one of the biggest Canadian investors in technology such as artificial intelligence and blockchain and has increased the proportion of its technology spending on innovation compared with maintaining existing systems.

© Thomson Reuters 2018

royal mc

FROM: Thomson Reuters / 9 de Enero de 2018

Mexico to Discuss Security With U.S. in Parallel to Nafta

From: Bloomberg / Eric Martin / 11 de Diciembre de 2017


Mexico’s top diplomatic and interior officials will visit Washington this week to discuss security cooperation with their U.S. counterparts at the same time that negotiators work to overhaul Nafta, according to four people familiar with the plans.


The visit by Mexican Foreign Relations Minister Luis Videgaray and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday is a follow-up to meetings in May, according to the people, who asked not to be named before the agenda is made public. It’s aimed at coming up with strategies to combat transnational criminal organizations, the people said. The press office of the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department declined to immediately comment.


The meetings coincide with a sitdown by negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada to update the North American Free Trade Agreement at the demand of U.S. President Donald Trump, who says the deal is responsible for hundreds of thousands of lost manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In an interview last month, Videgaray said that if the Nafta renegotiation encounters trouble, it could impact other areas of cooperation with the U.S. such as security and immigration. Mexico this year has seen homicides surge to the highest levels of this century, surpassing the previous record levels of the drug war from 2010 to 2012.

“It’s good for Mexico that we cooperate with the U.S. on security and also on migration and many other issues,” Videgaray said in the interview in Vietnam on Nov. 11. “But it’s a fact of life and there is a political reality that a bad outcome on Nafta will have some impact on that,” he said. “We don’t want that to happen, and we’re working hard to get to a good outcome.”

Videgaray told reporters last month that Mexico is prepared for the end of Nafta if it can’t reach a deal with the U.S. and Canada that benefits the nation. The three countries in August began talks to rework the pact after Trump pledged during the 2016 campaign to overhaul or end it.

This Week’s Talks

The latest meetings to revamp Nafta, taking place at the Mayflower Hotel, will run through Friday, largely out of the spotlight. Cabinet-level officials aren’t scheduled to attend for the second time since negotiations began, and the Trump administration is preoccupied with efforts to push through tax cuts by year-end and avoid a government shutdown. Videgaray’s portfolio includes the broad bilateral relationship with the U.S., while a team led by Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo has been focused on the commercial details of the Nafta negotiation.



From: Bloomberg / Eric Martin / 11 de Diciembre de 2017

German firms more upbeat on Mexico, wary on NAFTA collapse – survey

From Euronews / Dave Graham, Andrew Hay / 5 de Diciembre de 2017

German companies are more upbeat about the business outlook in Mexico than they were a year ago, but more than two-thirds believe that an end to the NAFTA trade deal would hurt their business there, a survey showed on Tuesday. The poll by the German-Mexican chamber of industry and commerce (CAMEXA) showed that more companies planned to invest and increase staffing than they did when surveyed a year ago, shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump’s election victory.

Some 54.6 percent of firms said they would boost staffing levels in 2018, a rise of nearly 10 percentage points from a year earlier. Almost 68 percent said they planned investment in the coming year, an increase of some 6 percentage points. The survey, which was carried out at the end of November, showed that 69 percent of firms believed that a collapse in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would have a negative impact on their business in Mexico. A total of 130 companies took part, CAMEXA said. Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from NAFTA if he cannot rework it to the advantage of the United States. Negotiations between the United States, Mexico and Canada to rework NAFTA have made only halting progress so far, and many major points of disagreement remain with the Trump administration seeking to promote his America First agenda. The three nations have vowed to continue talks to overhaul the almost 24-year-old trade deal through March, when the Mexican 2018 presidential campaign begins in earnest.


From Euronews / Dave Graham, Andrew Hay / 5 de Diciembre de 2017