MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto expressed gratitude on Monday to the man who will succeed him on Dec. 1, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, for supporting the outgoing government in negotiations with the United States and Canada on updating the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.
“It allowed us to show the United States a single front, with a single face of two different administrations, but in a very allied, coordinated common front,” Peña Nieto said during a public event with Mexico’s NAFTA negotiating team.
With the participation of Lopez Obrador aides in the talks, the Mexican delegation “was not the representative of a government, but of Mexico,” the departing president said.
Peña Nieto also acknowledged the role of Mexico’s top diplomat, Luis Videgaray; Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and business leader Juan Pablo Castañon in the successful process.
US President Donald Trump, a long-time critic of NAFTA, took office in January 2017 with a threat to scrap the accord altogether if Mexico and Canada would not agree to make changes.
After more than a year of discussions, the US and Mexico agreed at the end of August on a new bilateral trade pact and invited Canada to join.
Ottawa and Washington came to an accord a month later on the new deal, dubbed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement.