Little by little, the texts of the extensive document that make up the new commercial treaty between the United States, Canada and Mexico are being read.
As was to be expected, arguments against what the three countries agreed upon have begun to appear. And complaints too, by those who feel that they emerged from the negotiations in a losing position.
That is logical, and it always happens, as it did in 1992-93, when the original treaty was signed.
For example, we should begin with the issue of the name.
For Donald Trump it was essential to remove the reference to “free trade,” a term that doesn’t fit him at all, because he thinks that free trade has been a “disaster” for the United States.
When it’s time to settle the accounts, there will be various sectors that say quite rightly: We were better off with the current North American Free Trade Agreement.
And that will happen in all three countries, although predominantly in Mexico and in Canada.
It isn’t accidental that the United States was the promoter of the treaty revision.
But it’s necessary to do the analysis that some would call “counterfactual.”
The fact is that an agreement was reached.
Imagine the scenario that we would be in if there had never been such an agreement. If, at this time, we had doubt about whether the U.S. Congress would accept a bilateral treaty limited to Mexico and the U.S.
Or, going even further back, imagine what would have happened if, in April 2017, it hadn’t been possible to prevent Trump from withdrawing the U.S. from NAFTA.
It’s very easy to think that, in one way or another, the agreement would have been achieved and financial stability would have been assured.
Sadly, that isn’t the way it is.
The only reason an economic disaster was avoided is because of the sum of efforts undertaken by people in the United States and the work of Mexican officials and business owners.
Still, when there are outcomes like the one we had last Sunday, it is easy to lose perspective.
It can be thought, perhaps, that, one way or another, it was inevitable that an agreement would be reached.
No. That is not the case.
It would be better to get used to accurately considering the possible scenarios, because otherwise we can imagine that things solve themselves, without intelligent and determined work.
The new regional commercial agreement offers stability and certainty beyond certain specific costs that will have to be paid by some sectors.
The point of view for the government of Andrés Manuel López Obrador had radically changed. Without this agreement, its start would have been stormy.
That lesson should be learned. The new government has not yet started. If, for example, the new Mexico City airport project in Texcoco is canceled, the cost will be very high.
Still, it is possible that the airport would get canceled, even though the cost of the project is reduced and ways of avoiding the use of tax revenue are sought.
Neither growth nor stability are assured, much less fairness.
We need to work as was done in the negotiations with the U.S. and Canada, but on many additional fronts.