Rex Tillerson And His Canadian, Mexican Counterparts Strike Conciliatory Tone On NAFTA

February 02, 2018
Global Affairs Canada
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) met with Canada’s Foreign Relations Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Affairs Luis Videgaray in Mexico City on Friday.

The top diplomats from the U.S., Mexico and Canada are sought to strike a conciliatory tone over the ongoing NAFTA negotiations after a closed-door meeting in Mexico City on Friday.

The U.S. and its two neighbors have been hitting speed bumps over trade negotiations. They’re about issues like how many components in a car have to be American. But the countries’ top diplomats projected optimism after a closed-door meeting here in Mexico City.

"In terms of timelines, we would love to get this deal done as quickly as possible,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a news conference.  “Uncertainty is never good for business confidence. Having said that, it's a really complicated agreement, and we believe in taking the time it takes to get it right."

It is becoming increasingly likely NAFTA talks will extend through 2018. Mexico and Canada account for more than half of exports from Arizona businesses.

Also after Friday’s meeting, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson advised Mexico to be wary of Russian interference in elections around the world. Tillerson’s visit was the beginning of a week-long tour of Latin America, in which is focusing on issues such as the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela and national security cooperation with the U-S’ southern neighbor.

But in a news conference in Mexico City, a local reporter asked Tillerson about interference from Russia.

"All I could say to you is we know that Russia has finger prints in a number of elections around the world,” Tillerson said. “We hear this from our European counterparts, as well. My advice to Mexico would be: pay attention to what's happening."

Russia has been accused of interfering with several countries’ votes. Mexican voters are getting ready to elect a new president this summer.