The Consul General of Mexico in Vancouver recently visited University Canada West and discussed NAFTA and her country’s business relations with Canada.
Berenice Díaz Ceballos spoke before a packed room on May 9.
“This is the first time, I’ve been asked to talk to students,” she said.
Berenice discussed the timely topic of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is currently being re-negotiated by Canada, the US and Mexico.
“For Mexico, NAFTA has been instrumental for our transformation,” she said.
Berenice explained how in 2017 alone, NAFTA accounted for more than US$1 trillion in trilateral trade, with Mexico exports to NAFTA partners reaching US$339 billion.
“We live in a globalized world, as you know,” Berenice said. “Our strategy is about strengthening Mexico’s position in the world.”
Ninety per cent of Mexico’s exports are manufactured goods. However, Mexico has other trade agreements in place and also trades with China and other Latin American countries, among others.
The US, led by President Donald Trump, decided that the agreement need to be re-worked. NAFTA re-negotiations have been ongoing for several months, yet an agreement doesn’t seem close.
“In 35 years the world has changed a lot, so we admit that we need to change the agreement,” she said.
Energy was not included in the original NAFTA deal, nor was intellectual property rights.
“We need to work together with our partners,” she said. “We want NAFTA to continue to be a tool for the economic development of Mexico.”
She said that Mexico can compete and compete successfully in world markets.
Canada is a major trading partner, but there is still room for growth.
“We have a closer relationship with Canada,” she said, adding they need to develop more trade with BC specifically.
Berenice said that the US has been Mexico’s primary trading partner, but that could change.
“Now Mexicans want to work directly with their Canadian partners,” she said adding that co-operation between the countries was formerly largely facilitated through the US.
Mexico has also streamlined the process for foreign investment. She said it used to take about 60 days to open a business in Mexico, but that it now takes 5-7 days.
The Consul General stuck around to answer students’ questions after her presentation. Students asked about direct investment, the upcoming Mexican election, their strategy for GDP growth and more.
UCW graduate program chair, Dr. Michele Vincenti, introduced the Consul General and had some words of wisdom for the students who came out to hear her speak.
“This is a chance to apply what you learned in the classroom to events in the real world,” he said.
University Canada West is located in the heart of Vancouver, British Columbia. The business-focused university offers both online and on-campus Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts in Business Communication and MBA programs.
Written by Bradley Fehr