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Mexican government official optimistic of USMCA ratification by year's end

Monterrey, Mexico — A senior Mexican government official expressed optimism Monday the USMCA trade deal would be ratified before the end of the year.

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Speaking at the World Steel Association's general assembly meeting in Monterrey, Mexico, Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade was positive about the prospects for the ratification of the trade agreement between US and Mexico after a long negotiation process.

"I think it is going to happen and it is going to happen soon," Seade said.

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Six months ago, the outlook was not as positive amid pushback in the US House of Representatives. However, the discussions have moved on from a view of rejection to correction on specific points of the trade agreement.

"The changes in question are manageable," Seade said.

One of the unsung improvements of the USMCA when compared with NAFTA is the precision of the rules, which will make it more user- and business-friendly once ratified, he said.

The old NAFTA agreement was riddled with "imprecisions and ambiguities" as it was written as a semi-contractual and political document, he added.

Despite the "misuse of trade instruments on the excuse of national security" by the US in 2018 in the form of steel and aluminum tariffs, Seade is bullish on the trade outlook for North America.

Mexico was subject to the tariffs for almost a year before being "the only country that has negotiated its way out on a free-trade basis," said Seade.

It was special because it was Mexico and a pointer toward a more cohesive North America in commercial trade, he added.

"We are going to have a pretty good future in North America," Seade told conference attendees.

-- Michael Fitzgerald, michael.fitzgerald@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh, newsdesk@spglobal.com