Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama and Calderón Part 2

Obama and Calderón met today. Most of the details are not too remarkable, but I was struck by Obama's use of the word "upgrade" for NAFTA. I don't know what it means in this context, and neither does the Mexican government:

"We don't know what the upgrade means. ... We want to listen and set the tone for a great relationship," said a Mexican official familiar with Monday's talks who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Further, Obama suggested creating a "consultative group" to discuss NAFTA and a few other things.

My immediate thought was that vague words like "upgrade" combined with putting together some sort of commission rather than just making a decision suggests that NAFTA will stay exactly the way it is for the foreseeable future.

5 comments:

mike a,  9:06 AM  

If course he's not going to do anything. This is classic moderate Democratic politics - pander to the unions to get elected, and then move to the intelligent middle once elected. NAFTA should not be altered and will not be altered. Doing so will cause more harm for Obama's reputation in Latin America than anything Bush did in 8 years.

Greg Weeks 9:31 AM  

I disagree. First, you overstate the priority placed on FTAs in the region compared to other issues. Second, I think Mexico could benefit if the U.S. pushes for environmental and labor provisions (which are the only alterations being discussed). In particular, if I were Calderón, I would argue that if the U.S. wants to add something, then Mexico needs to add some sort of provision for the movement of labor across borders. If Obama wants dialogue, then it would have to go both ways.

Justin Delacour 1:42 PM  

My immediate thought was that vague words like "upgrade" combined with putting together some sort of commission rather than just making a decision suggests that NAFTA will stay exactly the way it is for the foreseeable future.

That is a sound presupposition.

mike a,  6:27 PM  

Greg, I agree with your hypothesis on Calderon, but that is even more reason why NAFTA won't be modified. Immigration reform during a economic meltdown is not going to happen. Imagine the headlines: "Obama Giving Away Jobs to Mexican Immigrants."

sharon 5:44 AM  

thanks for the information....

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Sharon
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