MEXICO CITY – The American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico expects “tense” negotiations as a new round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opens in Washington, the business group’s president, Monica Flores, said Wednesday.
“These will be days of intense negotiations, but the focus is on finding agreement among the three countries,” Flores told EFE in an interview.
The fourth round of talks among Mexico, the United States and Canada will continue on the outskirts of Washington until Oct. 17.
Flores said she expected discussion of subjects “where agreement will be a bit more difficult,” such as rules of origin and the trade pact’s Chapter 19 on dispute resolution.
The previous round, held at the end of September in Ottawa, ended without much progress on the most controversial issues.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, with more than 1,450 members, accounts for almost 70 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) and 30 percent of employment in the country.
US President Donald Trump has demanded renegotiation of the 1994 trade agreement, arguing that it has harmed industries and eliminated jobs in his country.
The chamber, which also keeps Mexican businesses abreast of the NAFTA discussions, is contributing opinions and proposals for the negotiations, Flores said.
“The good news is that the discussions continue on schedule and I don’t think that (NAFTA) is hanging on a thread,” Flores said, adding that, nevertheless, it would be good for the Mexican government to develop a “plan B,” including diversification of foreign trade.
The American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, an independent nonprofit organization with no political affiliations, was founded in 1917 to promote trade, investment, economic development and US-Mexican relations.