NAFTA Review and Immigration Crisis

In the NAFTA review carried out by the Central American and U.S. authorities, it is ruled out that the U.S. government will apply trade sanctions in retaliation for the deepening of the migration problem.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

After the Trump administration pressured Mexico with the threat of increased tariffs on Mexican imports, the region has generated expectations for the planned review of the NAFTA with Central America.

In the meeting to be held on July 18 in San Jose, Costa Rica, Andrea Malito of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the trade authorities of Central American countries will participate.

According to representatives of the Guatemalan Ministry of Economy, for the time being pressure on the migration issue is ruled out, as this item is not included in the agenda of this session, since the issues to be addressed are agriculture, the elimination of sanitary and phytosanitary barriers, among others.

Businessmen in Guatemala agree that in order to stop migration, there is no interest on the part of the U.S. in putting pressure through trade sanctions on Central America, since this could worsen the situation.
Alejandro Ceballos, president of the Costume and Textile Commission (Vestex), explained to that "... in this meeting and any action that is presented, it will be like 'going against immigration policy' and what could generate greater flows. People migrate out of necessity, why so much wealth on that side and so much poverty in this (region) risk their lives to leave'."

Ceballos added that "... the migratory aspect with trade should not be considered and if at any time it could arise, it would be more of a problem for them than for the region. In the trade balance, Central America imports more than it sells and migration could worsen it more and one of their objectives is to increase trade.

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