Just days before talks are set to begin, a document outlining Mexico’s goals for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has reportedly been located by the press.
Reuters reported this week its location of the document circulating around the Mexican Senate.
The document from Mexico’s Secretaria de Economia, or economic secretary, reportedly prioritizes a stronger dispute resolution mechanism, strengthening Mexico’s growing energy sector and prioritizing free access to goods and services between the three nations included in NAFTA—Mexico, Canada and the United States.
The Mexican government welcomes the renegotiation process and has been consulting the public, agricultural organizations and producers, educators and other representatives on what they’re looking for from NAFTA, according to a press release from the Mexican Embassy in the United States.
“The Mexican government reiterates its willingness to work together with its NAFTA partners to increase our regional competitiveness and continue to generate trade and investment opportunities in North America,” the document said in Spanish.
Other goals, according to the document obtained by Reuters, include: greater labor market integration, establishing rules of origin to guarantee regional benefits and unifying agriculture, animal and health safety regulations to protect intellectual property.
“The Free Trade Agreement has been of immense benefit to all parties. Mexico expects a constructive negotiation process by its two trading partners, the United States and Canada, to increase trade and investment flows, to consolidate economic cooperation and integration and to foster competitiveness in North America,” a statement from the Mexican government reads.
Due to an upcoming election, Mexican officials are hoping for an expedited renegotiation process.
Monday, the country named a new chief NAFTA negotiator, Kenneth Smith Ramos, who is the head of trade and the NAFTA office at the Mexican Embassy in Washington.
He’ll be joined in representing Mexico by Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and Juan Carlos Baker, the undersecretary for Foreign Trade.
“Both officials will be responsible for the organization and coordination of the negotiating team of the Ministry of Economy (SE), as well as for the participation of the other dependencies of the Government of the Republic, which, as in other negotiations, support the SE negotiating team,” the news announcement said.
It continued: “As in all negotiations, in the modernization of NAFTA, there will be different levels of interaction between the negotiating teams of the three countries. At the technical level, those responsible are the negotiating heads. At a next level, there will be the undersecretaries or their equivalents, who will be in charge of advancing those topics that after the technical work so require, and at the strategic level will be the secretaries or ministers who will lead the negotiation process in each country.”
Assistant U.S. Trade Representative John Melle has been named the chief negotiator for the United States.
The U.S.’ objectives for NAFTA include reducing the trade deficit, improving market access for American agriculture and supporting economic growth in the United States.
Canada continues to build its team for the talks.
The first round of NAFTA talks will begin in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Aug. 16.