Mexico designates top NAFTA negotiator, defines goals
Just hours after the Mexican economy ministry appointed Kenneth Smith Ramos as the lead negotiator for NAFTA talks, set to kick off August 18, a document that sets out goals for the renegotiation has been delivered to the Mexican senate, Reuters reported.
The economy ministry announced it has chosen the Washington, DC veteran and North American trade expert to lead the latest round of talks with US over modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement. Smith Ramos is currently the head of the trade and NAFTA office at the Mexican Embassy in Washington. His first job with the Mexican government was a member of the negotiating team of the original trade deal back in 1993.
He previously worked in Mexico’s agricultural ministry, known as SAGARPA, as the head of international affairs, overseeing trade for the agency.
Upon his appointment, Mexico’s economy minister Idelfonso Guajardo said the first round of meetings in August will likely just be used to lay groundwork for the negotiating topics and schedule.
Meanwhile, a document that sets goals for the Mexican team involved in the renegotiation started making rounds in the senate. According to Reuters, such targets are prioritizing free access for goods and services, greater labor market integration and a strengthening of energy security.
“Our objective is to have an expedited negotiation that maintains the benefits that we have achieved during the lifespan of NAFTA, but which at the same time serves as a platform for the modernization of the treaty,” the document says.