Mexico and China to Take Trade Talks Deeper as NAFTA Fate Dangles

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China and Mexico said in July that they were interested in developing a closer trade relationship, and now leaders from the two nations will meet next week with talks potentially leading to a free trade deal.

The goal for Mexico? To decrease its dependence on the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is currently under renegotiation, and according to President Trump, the outlook for the deal doesn’t look good.

The goal for China? Slide into the trade spaces the U.S. appears to be making its way out of.

[Read more about the first round of NAFTA renegotiations: Trump Says US Will “Probably” End Up Terminating NAFTA]

Trump reiterated on Sunday via Twitter his feelings that NAFTA may just get nixed.

He said, “We are in the NAFTA (worst trade deal ever made) renegotiation process with Mexico & Canada. Both being very difficult, may have to terminate?”

Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded with an official press release Sunday saying, “Mexico’s position at the renegotiation table of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will continue to be serious and constructive, always putting our national interests first, and seeking a beneficial result whereby the three North American countries win.” The statement went on to say, “Mexico will not negotiate NAFTA, nor any other aspect of the bilateral relationship, through social media or any other news platform.”

Mexico’s President Enrique Nieto will meet with China’s President Xi Jinping in China next week to talk trade and investment. Nieto will also take part next week in a summit between the BRICS nations—China, Russia, India, Brazil, South Africa—whatever it takes to loosen Mexico’s reliance on trade with the United States.

As Mexico’s ministry said in a statement, Nieto will participate in the 2017 BRICS Business Forum, “where more than 800 business leaders will discuss opportunities for investment, trade, connectivity, financial cooperation and development…”

Nieto’s China visit will fall in line with negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada, meeting in Mexico City Sept. 1-5 for the next round of NAFTA talks.

The meeting with China’s president will be the seventh between the two leaders and is expected to deepen and strengthen the partnership between China and Mexico.

Endeavoring to get itself even further into the Chinese market, Mexico has its sights set on Alibaba. Nieto will also meet with leaders from China’s e-commerce juggernaut next week in Hangzhou.

“The Mexican government and Alibaba are working so that Mexican companies, especially SMEs, can utilize the company’s commercial platform—used by more than 500 million consumers in different countries around the world—for the products and services,” Mexico’s ministry noted.

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