Akira Yamada, Ambassador of Japan in Mexico and former Director General of the Foreign Ministry’s Latin American and Caribbean Affairs Bureau, now oversees Japan’s links with Mexico, home to more than 1,000 Japanese companies’ manufacturing, sales and services operations.

Q: Should NAFTA continue to stand, what main value will Mexico continue to offer foreign companies?

A: NAFTA has worked well for Mexico, the US and Canada. And it has been changing the face of Mexico positively. When the treaty came into effect in 1994, a lot of people were concerned about its effects, but in the long-run I think that NAFTA helped a lot in the development of the country and is now one of Mexico’s most attractive assets.

Continuous remarks from the US President about renegotiating NAFTA generated some worries among Japanese companies but I do not think the US will pull out of NAFTA. The treaty is beneficial to both countries and leaving it is almost impossible due to the damage it would cause to the US economy. What might be inevitable is a kind of modernization and I think Mexico should be ready for that.

Q: What are Japan’s expectations regarding the TPP and treaty negotiations with the US?

A: The Japanese Parliament finished the necessary procedure for the ratification of the TPP in November 2016. We hope that other TPP members follow in Japan’s footsteps and approve of the treaty. The TPP was in a very difficult situation because of the US’ political situation but we continue talking with US representatives, trying to convey our views to the new administration so they understand its importance for future international trade with signing countries. Even though the US President ordered the US to retreat from the TPP as soon he took office, we cannot predict for certain what will happen in the future after the new team takes office. The Mexican Senate has not finished the ratification process, but I hope the Mexican Congress will take necessary measures to approve the TPP as soon as possible.

Because TPP is a crucial instrument that not only covers international trade but also other aspects such as investment, intellectual property, environmental issues and dispute settlements. This treaty has the highest standards for international economic relations such that Japan thinks the TPP will be the new standard to manage economic international relations. The TPP encompasses the most economically dynamic region in the world and we hope that the interchange of goods, services and talent will grow in the near future. The TPP can encourage dynamic economic growth and aims to create an economic zone with shared values such as respect for human rights, democracy, sustainable development and market economy. In this sense, the agreement can contribute to regional peace, while being a free trade flagship.

This is an exclusive preview of the 2017 edition of Mexico Automotive Review. If you want to get other relevant insights regarding the Mexican automotive industry, get your copy of Mexico Automotive Review 2016.

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