In case you didn’t know, Chapala had an important voice in this week’s preliminary deal to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Native son Luis Aguirre Lang is a member of the private sector team from Mexico that has been sitting at the table during the year-long negotiations with the United States.
After rising through the ranks in a two-decade professional career, Aguirre is now the executive vice-president of Logistics and Government Relations with the Mexican division of the electronics manufacturing giant Sanmina. With a record for strong leadership in his field, he was elected to serve a second term as president of the National Council of the Maquiladora and Export Manufacturing Industry (INDEX), giving him a key role in crafting new trade terms with the country’s northern neighbor.
Interviewed by the Guadalajara Reporter this week, Aguirre said he is pleased with the “understanding” announced at the White House August 27 in a phone call between by presidents Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto.
“Mexico managed to maintain an agreement without undermining free trade, that is, tariffs are kept at zero, with total duty relief for original goods, market access for all types of goods, including threatened agricultural products, and the expanded exchange of energy goods and services as well as remanufactured goods,” he remarked.
“The temporality of agricultural products and the sunset clause are eliminated, while the chapters on controversy and dispute resolutions are maintained. These are very important achievements on points we envisioned as difficult for the USA to cede.”
He noted that the main concession on Mexico’s behalf was allowance for hardening of Rules of Origin in the automotive sector. “This means that supply chains must be reconfigured and costs may rise,” Aguirre explained. “Companies will have to maintain high efficiency to remain competitive. But this opens a great opportunity for Mexico to attract Asian investment and with it, the transfer of technology.”
Aguirre is optimistic that Canada will come in on a needed reform of the existing trilateral trade agreement, a pact he calls NAFTA 2.0.