New tariffs, quotas could sink NAFTA talks for Mexico: ambassador

WATCH: Mexico’s Ambassador to Canada, Dionisio Perez Jacome tells Vassy Kapelos his government will not accept increases in tariffs or the imposition of quotas in a new NAFTA deal.

Mexico’s ambassador to Canada says his country will draw a line in the sand on certain proposals related to NAFTA, but he’s hopeful the ongoing negotiations will produce a trade deal everyone can accept.

“We certainly will not accept increases in tariffs or imposition of quotas,” said Dionisio Pérez Jácome in an interview with The West Block‘s Vassy Kapelos.

“We believe it’s possible to reach win-win-win scenario in the different topics, it’s a matter of advancing the negotiations.”

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Pérez Jácome said the negotiations, which are heading into a fourth round in Washington this week, have begun to “gain momentum” in certain areas, but on sensitive subjects like supply management in Canada’s dairy sector and rules of origin, Canada and Mexico are still waiting for the U.S. to reveal its full hand.

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“We haven’t advanced much because we are still waiting for some specific proposals,” the ambassador confirmed. “This is expected to take place in the Washington round … on the supply management, again, we will look at all the topics.”

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Like Canada, Mexico is expected to push hard for the preservation of NAFTA’s current Chapter 19 dispute settlement mechanism, which the U.S. wants to scrap. The mechanism allows binational panels to make binding decisions on complaints about illegal subsidies and dumping, and the Americans have often been on the losing end of those decisions.

“We believe that any trade agreement has to have a fair, transparent, strong and efficient system of dispute settlement,” Pérez Jácome told Kapelos.

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Overall, he added, NAFTA must be updated and strengthened and must incorporate the technological realities of the  21st century.

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“We are fully committed to making this work,” he said, shrugging off any suggestion that Mexico and Canada could go it alone with a bilateral deal if NAFTA falls apart.

“I think it’s too early to think about that. We are fully concentrated on the trilateral agreement … because we believe it’s possible.”

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— Watch the full interview with Mexican ambassador Dionisio Pérez Jácome above.