U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Mexican counterpart Jose Antonio Meade dismissed Friday the possibility of “reopening” the North American Free Trade Agreement, calling instead for steps to reinforce the 20-year-old pact.
“I don’t think you have to open up NAFTA, per se, in order to achieve what we’re trying to achieve,” Kerry said during a joint press conference in Washington with Meade and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird.
Meade seconded Kerry’s view.
“We do not think it is necessary to reopen NAFTA, but we think we have to build on it to construct and revitalize the idea of a dynamic North America,” the Mexican foreign secretary said.
Presidents Barack Obama and Enrique Peña Nieto and Canadian Premier Stephen Harper will continue commemorating NAFTA’s 20th year in force during a Feb. 19 summit in Toluca, Mexico.
Meade said Mexico wants to ensure that the NAFTA members’ individual trade negotiations with the European Union “further increase North American competitiveness, with a view, eventually, to having more integrated relations between North America and the European Union, rather than just three bilaterals.
Kerry, Meade and Baird had a working breakfast Friday to prepare the agenda for next month’s summit, and afterwards the secretary of state met separately with his Canadian and Mexican colleagues.