Mexicans are anxious about the future of the North American Free Trade Act, and how the incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Donald Trump may seek to change or even withdraw from the agreement.
Mexican officials are now speaking with Asian nations about how trade between Mexico and Asia might change in a post-NAFTA era.
Mexican analysts expressed concern that new investment may slow down due to uncertainty about the agreement. “It’s the chilling effect on investment,” said Federico Estévez, a political scientist at Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico, a leading Mexican university. “We’ve basically turned into an industrial economy on the basis of NAFTA.”
NAFTA took effect Jan. 1 1994, aiming to remove many tariffs and integrate major sectors of the economies of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
“It’s going to have to be Mexico first, more self-reliant,” Estévez said. He said Trump’s victory is prompting some in Mexico, particularly on the left, to double down on their own nationalist goals, which include reducing economic dependence on the U.S.
Last month, governor with Mexico’s Central Bank, Javier Guzman Calafell, told an audience that that the economic challenges for Mexico are pressing. He said that high inflation is hindering investment and complicating long-term planning.
Uncertainty about NAFTA’s future is something that Xochitl Hernández understands.
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