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Economy

Top Mexican Official Reassures San Diego-Tijuana Region On NAFTA

Juan Carlos Baker Pineda addresses a delegation of San Diego and Baja California leaders, March 29, 2017.
Jean Guerrero
Juan Carlos Baker Pineda addresses a delegation of San Diego and Baja California leaders, March 29, 2017.
Top Mexican Official Reassures San Diego-Tijuana Region On NAFTA
Mexico's deputy economy minister, Juan Carlos Baker Pineda, says Mexico won't accept limitations on trade during NAFTA renegotiations, which could affect San Diego and northern Baja California.

Mexico’s deputy economy minister told a delegation of San Diego and Baja California leaders in Mexico City on Wednesday that during NAFTA renegotiations, Mexico won't accept anything that limits trade — including a border tax that is unpopular in the border region.

"If that is what the proposal comes toward Mexico, I can tell you it would be a very short discussion because in our minds, that implies a regression," said Juan Carlos Baker Pineda. "It would be so 1980s to speak about tariffs."

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He said Mexico has more leverage on NAFTA than most Americans realize — largely Mexico's role in keeping terrorists and drug cartels out of the U.S. — and that he doesn't think President Trump would seek to pull out of NAFTA completely because it would force the U.S. to cooperate with the World Trade Organization's rules on tariffs, which he said are less favorable to the U.S. than to Mexico.

The delegation of nearly 90 business leaders and politicians, led by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, is in Mexico City pushing for regional issues and advocating for cross-border collaboration at a time of tension in the binational relationship due in part to President Trump's threats against NAFTA.

Members of the delegation argue the San Diego-Tijuana region has largely benefited from NAFTA, specifically in manufacturing.

RELATED: San Diego, Tijuana Leaders Push Regional Issues In Mexico City

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Earlier in the week, the chamber signed a memorandum of understanding with Mexico's Senate allowing San Diego-Tijuana border region leaders to collaborate on federal legislation south of the border on issues of trade, immigration and border infrastructure.

The meeting with Baker Pineda was the last of the three-day trip to Mexico City. The delegation included the mayors of San Diego and Tijuana, the Consul General for Mexico in San Diego, the Consul General for the U.S. in Tijuana and more.