Citing the North American Free Trade Agreement as catalyst for Mexico’s development into a growing world power and a strengthened relationship with the United States, a Mexican diplomat skeptically assessed Trump’s pledge to withdraw from the trade agreement in a UN Initiative meeting with NYU students.
“NAFTA is, by far, the most successful trade instrument in the world,” said Juan José Gómez Camacho, Mexico’s permanent representative in the EU. “We are so interdependent that by withdrawing, you not only hurt Mexico, but the U.S. hurts itself,” he said, referencing the idea of an interconnected North American future.
Speaking with Model UN Members on Monday night, Camacho discussed Mexico’s development in the recent decades since Congress signed NAFTA in 1994 and stuck steadily to a theme of global interconnectedness.
Conspicuously absent during Camacho’s initial address, however, was any mention of president elect Donald Trump. Though directly asked about the implications of a Trump presidency on US-Mexico foreign relationships twice, the ambassador skirted the issue, offering little insight into Mexico’s perspective on the election.
Instead, Comacho stressed the long history between the two countries and the mutually dependent manufacturing economies enabled by NAFTA. He also avoided a question about the future of Mexico’s foreign policy agenda. Launching into a spiel on the US-Mexico relationship as unlike any other in the world, Camacho waxed poetic on the countries’ shared reality, history, and future.
Responding to an inquiry from one audience member on the next step in addressing the war on drugs, however, Juan Gómez Camacho also acknowledged the dangerous side affects of two countries’ tight relationship.
“I know Mexico has had some very serious problems with drugs,” said NYU student Xan Northcott. “Whereas in American it is now the case where the majority of the population lives in a place where marijuana is legalized.”
The Mexican ambassador painted Mexico as a geographical funnel through which multinational criminal organizations moved. He drew a picture of supply chains spanning countries and continents, drugs flowing North while weapons and money returned South. Making sure to note that the U.S. accounts for the consumption of 50 percent of all global cocaine production, Camacho pinpointed U.S. demand as the driving force in the illegal drug market
“It’s a transnational movement conducted by transnational criminal organizations that operate like multinational enterprises, but illegal,” he said.