Mexico bullish on economy after US House OK's trade deal

Mexican officials are bullish about the country's economic future after the U.S. House of Representatives approved a new North American trade deal

MEXICO CITY -- Mexican officials expressed optimism Friday about the country’s economic future after the U.S. House of Representatives approved the renegotiated North American trade deal following lengthy and at times contentious negotiations.

Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the overwhelming vote for the deal, which was also passed by Mexico’s Senate last week, was “excellent news” and will bring “jobs, investment and technological development” to the country.

“A long period of uncertainty has ended. ... Now there is certainty,” Ebrard said.

Mexico has been struggling economically this year, with GDP growth around zero during the first three quarters under the presidency of Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who took office in December 2018.

On Thursday, the Bank of Mexico forecast that that sluggishness was likely to continue in the fourth quarter.

Now officials hope implementation of the U..S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will encourage businesses that may have held off on investments while the long-term trade outlook was unclear.

Economy Secretary Graciela Márquez Colín said the new agreement contains important upgrade to the earlier North American Free Trade Agreement in areas including intellectual property, digital commerce, integration of financial services and support for small and medium-size enterprises.

Officials said the USMCA represents the world’s largest common market, with a collective GDP of $23 trillion and $1.16 trillion in commerce between the three countries.

Márquez said the United States accounts for about 48% of foreign direct investment in Mexico.

The House approved the USMCA on Thursday by a vote of 385-41, handing President Donald Trump a bipartisan victory just a day after it impeached him.