Mexico is prepared to consider the addition of “new elements” to the North American Free Trade Agreement, but will not agree to a complete overhaul of the pact, the Aztec nation’s top diplomat said here Friday.
“NAFTA is not renegotiable. Mexico is convinced that the free-trade treaty has been beneficial for the three countries,” Foreign Secretary Claudia Ruiz Massieu told EFE during a visit to the Mexican Consulate in Tucson.
President-elect Donald Trump, who launched his campaign with a speech denouncing Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists” and a vow to build a border wall, reiterated on Thursday that he intends to renegotiate NAFTA.
The accord linking the economies of Canada, the US and Mexico “has created employment and growth and has also allowed us to forge bi-national and tri-national chains of production and value,” Ruiz Massieu said.
The 22-year-old agreement can be improved with the incorporation of provisions that correspond to a “new reality,” she said.
“We will be working with the new government of the United States on how to strengthen our bilateral trade relationship, starting from the reality of the 21st century,” the Mexican foreign secretary said.
Billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, nominated by Trump as commerce secretary, said in an interview with CNN that renegotiating NAFTA will be one of his priorities.
Mexico is ready to “modernize” NAFTA, Mexican Ambassador to the US Carlos Manuel Sada told EFE earlier this week, describing border communities as “an example of the bilateral benefits” of the accord.
The US and Mexico “have shared values and aspirations,” Ruiz Massieu said during a press conference at the Tucson consulate.
“We are committed to making sure that our priorities are put on the table and to find commonalities so we can work together to ensure that our region remains competitive, that our relationship continues to grow, that our common border is safe and more efficient, and that we can do it together,” she said.
From Tucson, Ruiz Massieu traveled to Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, for a meeting of the Arizona-Mexico and Sonora-Arizona commissions with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Sonora’s Claudia Pavlovich.