Representatives from Mexico, Canada and the US began the second round of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks here. The closed-door meeting that began on Friday evening at the Hyatt Regency Hotel was expected to tackle various issues including rules of origin, the opening up of markets, environment, e-commerce, transparency and corruption, reports Xinhua news agency. Salvador Behar Lavalle, Mexico’s deputy chief negotiator, told the media that he did not know how long the negotiations would last.
Sources told Xinhua that on the sidelines of the closed-door gathering, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo will be meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland. Mexico has a lot riding on the talks and leaders of its different business and productive sectors are serving as advisers to the government negotiating team. “The private sector is united and organised, which allows us to discuss any topic with the negotiating team efficiently and allows Mexico to react as a country firmly and swiftly,” said Juan Pablo Castanon, president of the Business Coordinating Council. The negotiations are expected to run till at least the end of this year, though there are always possibilities the US may withdraw from the talks if it feels it is not getting what it wants. US President Donald Trump insisted the agreement should be renegotiated, claiming it unfairly benefited Mexico at the expense of American industries and jobs.