Jesus Seade, then representative of Mexico on the renegotiation of the Free Trade Agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada (T-MEC) in 2018, committed one of the worst mistakes in such negotiationJared Kushner, son-in-law of former President Donald Trump, said.
According to his new book Breaking History: A White House Memoir (Breaking History: Memoirs from the White House), Kushner, who served as Trump’s senior adviser, filed the United States offer about the call sunset clause related with the agreement expiration.
Ivanka Trump’s husband recounts that at that time, USA I had problems so Mexico and Canada will accept said clause. He explains that neither of the two countries wanted it, arguing that it would create uncertainty among investors.
Jesus Seade’s mistake
Jesus Seadewho was appointed as Mexico’s representative in the negotiations by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, interrupted Kushner’s presentation with his own offer which was much more advantageous for the United States and detrimental for Mexicoassures the former adviser to Trump.
Seade was unaware that Kushner and the Mexican foreign minister Luis Videgaray during the six-year term of Enrique Peña Nieto They had already worked together to agree on an expiration after 16 years, Kushner recalls.
Jesus Seade interrupted Kushner’s introduction of that agreement to suggest an expiration of 12 years. Resulting in a potentially shorter service life that favored US targets at the expense of Mexico.
Kushner secretly negotiated with Videgaray and Guajardo
Kushner says that he, Videgaray and the then Secretary of Economy with Peña Nieto, Ildefonso Guajardo, they privately constructed a false negotiation for Guajardo to request 18 years, so that they could then return to the expiration period of 16 years.
Subsequently, Kushner and Guajardo simulated the negotiation to then-US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to return to the agreement originally reached between Kushner and Videgaray, and allow Seade to save face, Kushner said.
“After the Mexican delegation left, Lighthizer and I looked at each other and laughed,” Kushner writes in his memoir.
“That was one of the worst trading moments none of us have ever seen. ‘Just remember,’ Lighthizer said, ‘nobody gets smarter by talking.’” Kushner relates that the exchange demonstrated the first rule of negotiation: forever let the other party go first.
Guajardo, now a representative in the Chamber of Deputies, had been seriously seeking a expiration of 18 years in talksbut had to accept Kushner’s original proposal 16 years after the Seade’s suggestion of a shorter termhe said in an interview on Wednesday.
Seade, in a separate interview, disputed Kushner’s characterization of the negotiations, saying that the proposal offered on behalf of Lopez Obrador involved regular reviews of the agreement linked to its expiration, with the clock resetting its expiration date with each renewal.
“The central point of the proposal that I presented, on behalf of the elected government team on the Mexican side, was to combine the extension of the agreement with those revisions directly linked to the extension,” Seade said. The proposal was intended to “answer the US side’s complaint about NAFTA that it had been a negotiated deal forever,” he said.