2017 Global Commerce Forum – Mexico’s Role in the World: North America and Beyond

Ahead of NAFTA renegotiations and amid a changing geopolitical environment, the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center and Baker McKenzie hosted the 2017 Global Commerce Forum – Mexico’s Role in the World: North America and Beyond on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, in Mexico City. The second iteration of the global commerce forum, this year’s event focused on the opportunities and implications of a potential restructuring of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The half-day event brought together senior-level representatives from international businesses, governments, and the media, along with thought leaders on global policy and international affairs. Experts and leaders in key sectors discussed the state of play with respect to NAFTA, recent developments in other existing and prospective free trade agreements, and the state of Mexico’s economy and role in global commerce.

Following introductory remarks by Reynaldo Vizcarra, managing partner at Baker McKenzie, Senator Gabriela Cuevas Barrón, senator in the National Action Party and chairwoman of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, provided keynote remarks on Mexico’s positioning in the hemisphere and the future of US-Mexico relations. Remarks were followed by an armchair conversation with Peter Schechter, Senior Vice President and Director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center of the Atlantic Council.

From the broader legal and business perspective, the first panel discussed implications of the upcoming negotiations. Panelists included Amy Glover, director of Mexico practice at McLarty Associates; Peter MacKay, partner at Baker McKenzie and former Canadian attorney general and minister of justice, minister of national defense, and minister of foreign affairs; Larry Rubin, president and chairman of the board at the American Society of Mexico; and Miguel Noyola, chair of the North America International Commercial Practice at Baker McKenzie. 

Spearheaded by Peter Schechter as the moderator, the panelists analyzed the effects President Trump’s rhetoric have had on politics and business. They touched on the broader goals and opportunities of renegotiations, the timeline, and the risks that come along with this. 

From a sector-specific standpoint and moderated by Jason Marczak, director of the Latin America Economic Growth Initiative at the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, a second panel including Amy de La Lama, privacy and technology partner at Baker McKenzie; Jude Webber, Mexico and Central America correspondent at the Financial Times; Marcus Dantus, chief executive officer at Startup México; and Benjamín Torres-Barrón, energy, mining, and infrastructure partner at Baker McKenzie dove into the opportunities and implications for key sectors. They explored how different industries, including the technology sector, the energy sector, and others may navigate new and potential trade policies.

From the Canadian point of view, Ambassador Pierre Alarie, Canada’s ambassador to Mexico, concluded the day’s discussions with comments on the country’s perspectives and priorities for a new NAFTA. Alongside Jason Marczak, he discussed the importance of the trilateral relationship, Canada-Mexico trade ties, and diversification of import and export markets, expressing Canada’s hope that renegotiations will bring new opportunities and avenues for collaboration for the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

Image: Mexican Senator Gabriela Cuevas discusses Mexico’s role in global commerce and the world.