from the really-getting-serious dept
Things are moving fast with the proposed US-EU transatlantic free trade agreement (TAFTA). It was only a few weeks ago that the formal announcement was made, and already another country wants to join, as pointed out by @PostActa (original in Spanish):
The Mexican government wants to be part of the negotiations of the Transatlantic Association of Trade and Investment (TTIP, in its English acronym), which the United States and European Union will be negotiating, with the idea that there will be two blocks that make up the future pact.
That is, alongside the EU block of 27 countries, Mexico is suggesting there should be a similar regional grouping in North America. Interestingly, the story says that the Mexican government will ask the US President for permission to join, with no mention of asking the EU:
"It is a sovereign decision of Washington as to the approach and the negotiation strategy to be adopted", and although the U.S. government has already referred to the idea, it is something that is not yet included in a formal dialogue, and needs to be defined.
That suggests that the US is actively involved in this latest move -- maybe even its instigator -- and would look favorably on Mexico joining TAFTA. There's also a hint in the article quoted above that Canada too might join TAFTA. Having both Mexico and Canada on board would be consistent with the US's past approach, where it allowed them to join the TPP negotiations, but on fairly humiliating terms that limit their scope of action.
Whether or not Mexico and Canada become part of TAFTA, and under what terms, it's pretty clear what the US strategy here is. Just today we learned that South Korea is likely to join Japan in asking to sign up to the TPP talks. That would make TPP the defining international agreement for the entire Pacific region. TAFTA obviously aims to do the same for the Atlantic. As well as establishing the US as the key link between the giant TPP and TAFTA blocs, this double-headed approach would also isolate the main emerging economies -- Brazil, Russia, India and above all China -- if they refuse to join as presumably junior partners. That globe-spanning pair of trade pacts, it would seem, are what Obama hopes to be remembered for when he leaves office: his legacy to America -- and to history.