Mexico’s president defends North American, Pacific trade deals

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Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said Sunday that trade is vital across North America and an Asia-Pacific agreement will further strengthen the relationship with the U.S. and Canada, countering anti-trade rhetoric.

Peña Nieto said that the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will strengthen ties with Washington and Ottawa and that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is proof that trade created and saved jobs and boosted all three economies. 

{mosads}“I believe that the trade integration that we have reached through NAFTA and now, is trying to grow stronger with the TPP,” he said on CNN with “Fareed Zakaria GPS.”

“It has helped us is to revitalize, bolster and strengthen productivity and industry present in the three countries, which are part of NAFTA,” he said. 

He called NAFTA “a win-win mechanism” that has enabled the United States, Canada and Mexico to protect their manufacturing sectors and millions of jobs.

“And I think the results are there,” Peña Nieto said.

But presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has a much different opinion.

In recent weeks, Trump has said he will demand either a renegotiation or withdrawal from NAFTA and the TPP, moves that would wreak havoc on the trading partnerships, causing tariffs to rise on imports from those countries and exports from the United States.

“I’m going to tell our NAFTA partners that I intend to immediately renegotiate the terms of that agreement to get a better deal for our workers,” Trump said recently during a campaign swing through western Pennsylvania.

“And I don’t mean just a little bit better, I mean a lot better,” he said.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presumptive nominee, has said she opposes the TPP as written and has urged Congress to forgo a vote on the 12-nation pact during the lame-duck session. 

President Obama is urging Congress to pass the trade deal before he leaves office. 

But for Peña Nieto, NAFTA made Mexico more appealing and led to increased productivity across economically intertwined North America.

“[We] complement each other through our strengths, the strengths of Mexico, the strengths of the U.S. and those of Canada,” he said.  

“And we have managed to have a regional integration that has helped us to generate six million jobs.”

Mexico’s leader argued that the trilateral relationship has saved jobs, too.

“This has in fact prevented the loss of many jobs which would have been taken to a different place in the world, where eventually the competitive advantages in these other parts of the world, especially in Asia, would have eventually taken these jobs,” he said.

Mexico is the major importer of U.S. goods and the country buys more from its neighbor to the north than what Mexico sells to China and Japan combined, Peña Nieto said.

Earlier this month, the countries’ three leaders recommitted to strengthening their economic relationship.

“During this trilateral summit, the governments of Canada, the United States and Mexico, we have reaffirmed our decision to work together with a vision, with resolve to advance economic integration in North America,” Peña Nieto said at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Ottawa, Canada.

“In order to fulfill this goal, Mexico values that in the Trans-Pacific Partnership there is a great opportunity to reaffirm this level of integration between the three countries that are part of NAFTA.”

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