NAFTA fate uncertain, but Mexico is preparing

Since its passage in 1994, the North American Free Trade Agreement served as a strong economic connection between the continent's biggest nations, especially Mexico and the U.S. According to Reuters, America receives about 80 percent of Mexico's exports.

However, the administration of President Donald Trump has harshly criticized NAFTA, and talks centered around treaty renegotiation stalled in disagreement Nov. 13. The news provider noted that because the White House expressed willingness to withdraw from the agreement, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray confirmed plans being formulated among the country's economic leaders to keep the economy afloat in the event of a NAFTA collapse.

"We have to be prepared for all the scenarios and one of the scenarios is that the United States leaves this treaty, and as we have said, that is not the end of the world," Videgaray said. "The Mexican economy is much bigger than NAFTA."

The foreign minister's proposals include tariff reviews, safeguards to maintain foreign investments, trade diversification and a series of macroeconomic policies from Mexico's central bank and the Finance Ministry.

Bipartisan debate surrounds the trade treaty, though specific sticking points differ among its opponents. Progressive criticism centers on NAFTA's adverse effects on the low-income farmers and indigenous people of Mexico, while social conservatives find it distasteful due to its elimination of manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Yet according to The Washington Post, any U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA would cause the loss of up to 1 million Mexican jobs. The nation's currency, the peso, also stands to drop considerably in value from such a decision by the White House.

Many American businesses support NAFTA, and the Post reported that various business associations began large-scale lobbying efforts to dissuade the administration from an abandonment of the agreement. The Trade Leadership Coalition and U.S. Chamber of Commerce currently lead the charge on those messaging campaigns.

NAFTA fate uncertain, but Mexico is preparing