Mexico Ratifies Trade Deal with the U.S. and Canada
“We think it suits us, that it is beneficial for more foreign investment,” Mr. López Obrador said then during his morning news conference, adding that the new trade accord would help create more well-paying jobs in Mexico.
Passage through the Senate was the final step for Mexico to approve the deal. For the treaty to be valid, all three legislatures have to approve it, and all three leaders must sign a proclamation putting it into effect, Mr. de la Calle said.
Despite Mr. López Obrador’s desire to see the accord take effect, Mexico’s close trade relationship with the United States has also left the country acutely vulnerable to Mr. Trump’s volatile approach to trade and his willingness to use tariffs to get concessions on trade and on the restrictive immigration policies he wants.
Throughout Mr. Trump’s time in office, Mexico has been regularly buffeted by his demands.
Mr. Trump ran against Nafta during the 2016 campaign, threatening to tear up the deal before relenting and demanding a new trade agreement instead. As negotiations dragged on, though, he imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and Mexico, among other countries.
Despite the duties, Mr. Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Mr. López Obrador’s predecessor, Enrique Peña Nieto, signed the revised North American trade deal at the end of November.
Mr. de la Calle said that for all of Mr. Trump’s bluster, he ultimately backs down on his threats against Canada and Mexico because regional trade is so important to the American economy. As part of the negotiations over the new accord, both countries secured a provision that would effectively exempt them from Mr. Trump’s threatened tariffs on their auto exports.
The steel and aluminum tariffs, as well as retaliatory tariffs imposed by Mexico and Canada, were lifted last month. Those retaliatory duties were designed to affect states where Mr. Trump has strong political support.