tv Mexican Ambassador to the U.S. Others Discuss U.S.- Mexico- Canada Trade... CSPAN February 21, 2019 11:59pm-12:39am EST
the new nafta and i think they will do that. we will hear from the mexican ambassador later, so you will get these answers. all i can say in the meantime is -- in the meantime, we conclude with the 7-6-5, shoot the the basket, the relations between our two countries are too important to let this go forward. >> that seems like a perfect note to close on. if you are looking for snow removal advice i know the , ambassador. [applause]
>> thank you so much for being here, ambassador. can people hear anything? to kick it off, you have not been here very long. you are the first female ambassador to the united states from mexico. as you said, i just arrived less than two months ago. in the middle of the shut down. in the middle of winter. having said that, i must say i've been working on what was
going on on her plate with the u.s.-mexico relationship and the usmca since the president won the election. the nextked me to be ambassador of mexico to the u.s.. since then, we were working trade and investment is one of the priorities. when i went to the senate for our hearing because we have to be confirmed by the senate in mexico, just as here, one of the issues that derived more interest from the senate was the usmca ratification process. how it was going to be, what were the challenges for the ratification process, what were
the things, the timeline that we thought the agreement could be ratified. arrived to washington , i thought that the usmca ratification process was going to take about 80% of my time, but i think i forgot how complex our relationship is and suddenly we have the unilateral implementation at the border, immigration. suddenly, we have venezuela. suddenly we have the tomatoes in the structures. particularly having established an active dialogue with congress, taking into account the changes in the house of representatives and a lot of new
representatives that it is the first time that they will deal with the ratification process of our trade agreement and that i think that some of them have they said, wed -- would like to know what is the position of the new government of mexico because the agreement was notified -- negotiated by the treatment of mexico. from zero to say yes. we are supporting it, we are very committed, then legally dialogue on the issues that are of interest to them. on thejust touched ratification process. a lot of what we have been talking about was on the u.s. ratification process. how is the lobbying process working. can you walk us through the process in mexico? where are we? what is needed to happen?
what time when are we looking at? >> i think what we need to have in mind first is that in mexico, the agreement should be approved only by the senate, not by the chamber. because the senate has a mandate to improve trade agreements and involve itself in foreign policy. the president's party has a majority in the senate. there should be no problems with the president's party. that does not mean all the senate of the president's party will vote for the agreement. will have doubts or certain positions regarding certain parts of the agreement. we think that the majority vote for thell agreement, if not all, the other opposition parties were involved
in previous agreements. we think that in mexico, we should not have, but there will regardingof questions annexes and the issues of the biological medicines. this session should last until regular sessions and then there are matters that should be conversed. the senate is considering the national guard. which is a military police similar and that is a priority of the senate this week.
we hope that it gets approved this week and then we will continue with the debate of other laws that are very important, which is the amendment of the labor laws in mexico. the labor laws were amended in 2017, but then we negotiated usmca, a new government came into place, a government that is typically committed to the freedom of association. in two effect the leaders and it is a huge change of the emphasis on labor policy in mexico. labor in mexico used to be based on corporate activism. it is changing quite radically. with the new system and with the
new laws. we think with this attitude and the amendments that the best can -- mexican government is presenting that we are complying with annex 23a and the proposals have been submitted, but they have not been discussed yet at congress. we are very and totally committed to amend the labor with the content of annex 23. they know what they are going to
consider. we are just waiting for the debate to take place and labor laws and also following very closely what is happening in canada and the u.s. in the lobbying process. having said that, we are very act ined to help and synergy with the canadian government and the u.s. government in getting the usmca ratified in the u.s. congress. talking to congress and underlining that the usmca is a win-win-win situation. >> is there any attempt on the mexican side to wait until the u.s. goes forward? panelked at an earlier
that there is a presidential election next year. his mexico doing what needs to be done as fast as it can? >> i think we will have our own timing. the timing will be determined in a very good part on the amendments on the labor laws and other issues. there wast say that an attempt in mexico to hold the ratification process depending on other countries. i would say we are following very carefully what is happening to see what -- because you have to create a scenario. what happens if you get the agreement ratified in mexico and a does not ratified in the other countries and someone wants to include something else?
by the way, we are not in favoring of opening any part of the association. this is the kind of exercise you have to do. you have to see this is the scenario that is more favorable for you to follow. >> you're more favorable of not reopening anything and you are mentioned you are going to capitol hill and probably hearing a lot about labor reform and met to go. are you getting a sense that mexico is doing something domestically on something that suffices. that you get a sense >> thets in the congress
congressman who realize we have the importance of trade, wait and see how the labor reform goes in mexico and the debate. the idea is that what we will reform in mexico, the labor laws will comply with annex 23. president,ion by the it has not been discussed yet. so to judge what has been submitted to the congress as final amendments, the truth is not the reality. you have to wait until they get debated or improved until they the labormpliance
conditions have to be negotiated. we have see what the demands are. we have to see how we are going inside mexico. there is a dispute settlement chatter -- chapter and we have to designate analysts to deal with the issue. we think it is pretty clear. i think we need to take into account that we are in this process of ratification. we are in the process of ratification. and that it is not the end of the process.
it is evolving. we have to be open about the dialogue. the dialogueep with the congressman. them and not be informed about the aspect. if you keep informing and engaging them, they could understand what is going on. >> you mentioned the panelists. they say the panels whenever formed. i wonder if you heard any suggestions on how that was made better. >> i have not heard that yet from congressman.
should not be part of the terrorists. that also has implications. it is part of a case among other countries. aboutd to be very careful this. are you confident that you will get to some kind of resolution? canada is saying we should be the same way that we don't want tariffs or a quota, let's get rid of these all restrictions. the u.s. seems to be coming from a different standpoint that this is a whole program that they set up and mexico and canada cannot be exempted because in the program does not work. how are you confident that this
will get resolved? >> it is a matter of principle. i think it works in the industry. they speak out about the need to solve this issue. mexico is doing what is in our capacity, which is to stay strong in our position, but also keeping in mind that these negotiations of implications. and also preparing ourselves to do whatever we can in the loss that we like to call them. we know this is a decision, it
is never any good for country to offer retaliatory actions. it is necessary to move these voices. now that it is a good time to start thinking internally of how to update that to see whatucts that they are still ineffective. >> i want to talk about that in a second. we have an audience question. are the tariffs necessary to move forward with ratification? >> yes, i think we do. the usmca was an advanced
agreement. we are strengthening a competitive area in north america. aluminum tariffs are important for the automotive industries that are totally integrated in the north american region. it is counterintuitive to have the terrorists. we would expect that the terrorists are lifted before the ratification process. >> there is obviously pressure from the u.s. congress from both sides of the aisle, from the business community to left the tariffs. how is that playing into your hand with the trump administration on that.
we are very respectful of the internal debate in the u.s.. say that went we tell them the mexican position. the same one we have been saying here. discuss to congress to with a specific branch of the u.s. to discuss how to deal with it. logic -- the regional logic, it does not make any sense. respect the internal debate. >> very diplomatic. your retaliatory tariffs and reshuffling the list. how far are you in going through the list and saying this product does not work, it is not effective anymore?
to hurt this senator or congressman more. can you give us any scoop on where you are at on that process? >> we are working internally. at the end of the day, the through is proposed several other ministries. we have to present a proposal. we are working on that on the grounds of the main purpose of the measures. that whether we charge tears unilaterally, whether the purpose of them -- as the time passes, trade tends to get used to these additional cost in some cases, so we are analyzing whether they are effective.
still aiming. >> what is the timing? , we could dorules that more than once, and the time. we are trying to seek internal to choose theon reasons for the best time to do it, but we have to have this before the internal position. >> and maybe by then there is a resolution to the whole thing. we have another audience question. would you be willing to accept changes of lowering intellectual-property protections for drugs in ways
that you would affect labor rules. >> it is good that you raised that. they said we accepted these negotiations. they said did we accept the agreement? say that everybody knows that the future of medicine is in the biological medicine. we have great challenges in mexico on the health issues. for mexico in general and i'm not going against what was agreed -- it was agreed and we for mexico, it, but the less time of protection, the better.
it was one of the big concessions of the country of mexico to getting usmca wrapped up. you would have to ask the american side if they are willing. to reopen the negotiations would be to open a pandora's box. this would delay the ratification process. it will contaminate many areas of cooperation and it will not be helpful. thatve a saying in spanish i think is the same in english. the perfect goes against the good. we have to keep that in mind.
each country did not get exactly what it wanted. the labor laws. we are able or not or willing to negotiate a parallel or set agreement. you would be surprised potentially and say it is more advanced than in the u.s. why not? you remember the 1st constitution to include labor rights in the world wasn't the mexican constitution in 1917. it is night -- not surprising for mexico to be advanced on labor matters. is there a way to shorten the biologic exclusivity without reopening the agreement? you just said that is a pandora's box.
i know a lot of other things the democrats and republicans want to put up for debate if they can. is there way to do that without putting it up for debate? >> i will answer your specific question. in terms of the mexican position, we accept the changes of the position. the negotiation of the position. know there is a delicate balance. only in the minds of the negotiators there is a perfect negotiation, but at the end of the day, we have what is possible. we have to follow a set of logical steps before entering even into this discussions, which are of a political nature.
in the implementation of the agreement, if there is something , if there is a perception that the labor reform in mexico is not sufficient, then we would need to work to the second phase of the theussion, which is how many ways we could address that. and the surface of the creativity to solve that matter. we still need to walk the previous steps. .n terms of the commitments
that is the fact. there is an agreement to renew it every six years. if the negotiators feel there is a need to review whether was more ambition or what was achieved, let's take those issues to the review, to the first review. that is perhaps a good idea. is that what you are telling democrats who come to you for help to get this reopened or to get this settled? is that what you are telling them six years afterward we have implemented it? nowy perception until particularly with congressman is that they have not approached us
americans know that mexico is the second trade partner of the u.s. and very few know that 29 states, mexico is the first trade partner. very few know that in the last years, we have invested more than $20 billion. maybe for you canadians, it would not sound like a lot. the trade of the u.s. with mexico, it is bigger than with whole latin america. the trade between mexico and the the gdp ofger than most latin american countries. we are talking with congress on these issues and they are surprised to know how many jobs depend on the trade with mexico.
they do not know that the largest producer of corn flour in the world makes 50% of their business in the u.s. and is in mexico company. even this morning i was talking with the ministers of agriculture with my colleagues and yesterday at the dinner and we were telling them, do you know that chocolate comes from mexico? no, it is from africa. what? no. name ise, the original an indian name and check out -- comes from mexico and we exported it as vanilla. even from those basics we have to start some time. people do not recognize the relevance of mexico for the u.s.
in many areas. we are very much aware of the relevance of the u.s. for mexico , but in the u.s., they are not aware of the u.s. -- mexican relevance. not to say that when we talk about the north american community and region as the secretary said this morning, we live in the best neighborhood in the world. and that is not sufficiently recognized. engagementour first is about this message. if you want to have a really good relationship with canada and mexico, we need the u.s. mca and canada to be ratified. >> sounds like you are doing a lot of education. >> i'm enjoying it. two quick questions before
you go. , there waspanel still a sense that withdrawal is a threat, that the president in the u.s. might employ as a threat. does that affect your ratification process at all. how do you leave that to the u.s. side to debate. >> i think it is a u.s. decision. who wins a withdrawal? if you have an answer for that, then you have to follow the consequences.
my personal opinion is that nobody benefits from the withdrawal of nafta because up until we have the usmca ratified to encrypt competitiveness and cooperation, to increase trade, if you lose that legal framework, what do you do? or more for you because am running out of time, you were in the room and am so curious because this was a very ,nteresting process to follow when did you know this agreement was coming together. or when were you the most scared of is going to fall apart? >> that is a good question.
you know until the very last moment that the negotiation is going to include. you have a sense that things are going well. you don't know if the agreement is going to be finally done. this time it was very atypical because we were coming from an agreement in principle between the u.s. and mexico and we were waiting for canada to do their part. strange to be not at the negotiating table. there were times with the negotiation seemed to be a most broken. many times. is thest stage
full-fledged. the second stage is continue negotiations with some groups. the third stage is bilateral negotiations. the reason is because it up with is exhausting. after having several rounds, we had a difficult round in canada. decided to change the because it was because it was falling apart. then we went to the continued .egotiations area
there was a change of strategy .gain the negotiation process becomes more complicated. inside the live building and the reporters lived outside the building sticking this out. this was interesting and think of her joining me. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]