Leftist Lopez Obrador would pick experienced economist to lead NAFTA renegotiation

Leftist Lopez Obrador would pick experienced economist to lead NAFTA renegotiation

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Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO), who currently leads all polls, announced this week through its Twitter account that veteran trade negotiator and noted economist Jesus Seade Kuri, would take over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations should he win on July 1.

The announcement comes just a few days after close collaborators of the leftist candidate said that Obrador will retain the team of Mexican officials and specialists who renegotiate the NAFTA, in case the talks extend until the new government takes office.

Seade is a Member of the Asia Global Fellows Faculty Committee and is the Chair Professor of Economics and former Vice-President at Lingnan University in Hong Kong.

He is also Special Advisor for Internationalization at the Chinese University of Hong Kong-Shenzhen, which he joined in August 2017 as Professor of Economics and Associate Vice-President for Global Affairs. Seade holds a Chemical Engineering degree (Summa Cum Laude) from UNAM-Mexico, and a B.Phil and PhD degrees in Economics from the University of Oxford.

He taught at the University of Warwick in the UK where he was the youngest ever full Professor of Economics and subsequently served as: Principal Economist at the World Bank (Public Economics and Brazil Departments); Mexican Ambassador to the GATT and Chief Negotiator to the Uruguay Round Negotiations that created the World Trade Organization; Deputy Director-General of the GATT and founding Deputy Director-General of the WTO; and Senior Advisor at the International Monetary Fund where he was heavily involved in crisis management, debt write-offs for poor countries and finally fiscal management and transparency.

During his ten years at Lingnan, which he joined in 2007, Professor Seade has been an active member of the Hong Kong government’s Advisory Boards on Trade and Industry, TIAB, and on Financial Services, FINMAN, including as co-chairman of FINMAN’s Working Group on Strategic Needs for the Financial Sector. He was for many years a member of the Georgetown Law School’s International Economic Law Advisory Board at Georgetown University (US).

Jesus Seade has published influential and highly cited theoretical work in public finance and industrial organization and equally noted empirical work in international trade and finance, work that he has combined with extensive experience in international negotiations, organizations and problem-solving at the highest level.

Last week, Yeidckol Polevnsky, president of Morena —AMLO’s party— and former leader of the Canacintra industrial business chamber, said that "Mexico's negotiating team is professional and valuable."

Polevnsky described Ildefonso Guajardo, Secretary of Economy and leader of the negotiating group, as a capable person, adding that the door is also open for Kenneth Smith and other experts in case they wish to continue in the negotiating team if Lopez Obrador becomes president.


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