Former President of Mexico urges border leaders to speak out about policies - Albuquerque Journal

Former President of Mexico urges border leaders to speak out about policies

EL PASO – Former President of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo during a visit to the border told business leaders and others gathered for a U.S.-Mexico summit that he’s worried about current relations, but “things can change if people who are affected by government policies speak out.”

Zedillo, a native of the Mexican border city Mexicali, gave the keynote address Wednesday at the summit organized by the Borderplex Alliance, a non-profit organization promoting economic development in the borderland region of New Mexico, Texas and Chihuahua.

A lot of the discussions focused on concerns about renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement as well the rocky U.S.-Mexico relationship under the Trump administration.  Zedillo, who called himself “a man of the border,” helped implement NAFTA during his presidency from 1994-2000.

He agrees it is time to update the nearly 25-year-old trade pact but is concerned current negotiations will lead to a new NAFTA “that is not only useless, but destructive of trade and investment.” He was critical of a proposal by the Trump administration to do away with protections of investments by companies in Mexico or Canada.

“Whether or not we get a new NAFTA that benefits all three countries depend on one man, and that’s our president,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Jim Jones who kicked off the daylong summit.

President Trump has threatened to scrap NAFTA if he doesn’t get what he wants for the U.S., but he recently tweeted that a deal with Mexico is “moving along nicely.” Canada has recently been shut out of the process, as President Trump’s relationship with the Canadian prime minister has deteriorated.

Jones, who served as ambassador from 1993 to 1997, also discussed his view of Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a man he met decades ago. Rather than a “far left winger,” Jones said Lopez Obrador had matured into a pragmatic and skilled political strategist.

“We’ve already seen his maturity in responding to some of the things (Trump) has said about Mexico,” said Jones.

In a tweet President Trump wrote, “New President of Mexico has been an absolute gentleman.”

Both men ran as populist candidates vowing to put their countries first and focus on workers who have felt left behind by past administrations, including those hurt by NAFTA. In Mexico, “fifty percent of them are still poor and pissed off and so they voted for the guy who said he would upset the system,” said Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Institute at the Baker Institute.

“The U.S. Mexico relationship is larger than those two individuals,” said U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas.

Hurd said it’s not just whether the leaders of the U.S., Mexico and Canada sign a renegotiated trade agreement, but whether Congress approves the pact. That could be affected by the results of the mid-term elections this fall.

Trade in general and NAFTA in particular are hot button issues on the campaign trail.

“NAFTA is the Pancho Villa of all trade treaties,” said Tom Fullerton, professor and Trade in the Americas chair at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Fullerton said just as Pancho Villa was often accused of murders and mayhem in this border region, even years after he was dead, NAFTA is now blamed for a myriad of economic problems in the U.S.

More than 500 people registered to attend the border summit which included a roundtable with mayors of Las Cruces, El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, and Sunland Park.

“If we can get more people outside our region to come down and experience this (border), I know those are the people who are going to advocate for us in the future,” said Sunland Park Mayor Javier Perea.

Home » Business » Most Recent Biz News » Former President of Mexico urges border leaders to speak out about policies


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Boom! How to help your pets on July 4
ABQnews Seeker
Shelter from the bombardment is essential, ... Shelter from the bombardment is essential, as is a compelling, canine-specific activity
2
NM Supreme Court upholds 2021 release of alleged serial ...
ABQnews Seeker
DA's office laments state's 'broken revolving-door ... DA's office laments state's 'broken revolving-door system' for crime
3
Getting down to basics for needy children
ABQnews Seeker
Undies for Everyone helps supply underserved ... Undies for Everyone helps supply underserved children in APQ and across the country
4
Man charged in ABQ rape while awaiting trial in ...
ABQnews Seeker
All three cases against him stem ... All three cases against him stem from a six-month period in 2021
5
Española's Anna C. Martinez named Albuquerque's sixth Poet Laureate
ABQnews Seeker
She will serve a two-year term ... She will serve a two-year term beginning July 1 and will lead a community outreach project
6
APD hopes to expand its Digital Intelligence Team
ABQnews Seeker
The team of three uses social ... The team of three uses social media, phone data and more to help solve crimes
7
Fish and Wildlife changes wolf management
ABQnews Seeker
US agency restricts permits to relocate, ... US agency restricts permits to relocate, kill Mexican wolves
8
Petition to NM high court seeks probe of Trump ...
ABQnews Seeker
Request to Supreme Court asks for ... Request to Supreme Court asks for action in fake electors case
9
Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions
ABQnews Seeker
Decision could complicate government efforts to ... Decision could complicate government efforts to combat climate change