With a new trade deal almost in place, U.S. private capital, with energy companies in the vanguard, could be poised to inject billions of dollars into Mexico’s wobbly economy.
The resounding December vote by the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — the former NAFTA — and the announcement of a renewal of Washington’s América Crece/Growth in the Americas initiative comes as welcome news to Mexico, which saw no economic growth in 2019.
In a letter to the lawmakers ahead of the USMCA vote, Tom Linebarger, chair of the trade and international committee at the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group for blue-chip U.S. companies, said that 12 million U.S. jobs and $1.4 trillion worth of trade with Canada and Mexico depended on their vote.
Even though it won an overwhelming majority, the vote was preceded by months of tense negotiations between the Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and senior administration officials.
The Mexican position on energy was not at issue. Mexico insisted, as it did under Nafta, on reserving its “sovereign right to reform its Constitution and its domestic legislation” — in other words it can, whenever it wants, decide to reverse the 2013 energy reform or, indeed, to make it much more radical.
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