Trade expert questions future of NAFTA at UHLC lecture

Dr. Gabriel Cavazos Villanueva examined the fate of NAFTA during a presentation last week at the University of Houston Law Center
Dr. Gabriel Cavazos Villanueva examined the fate of NAFTA during a presentation last week at the University of Houston Law Center

Feb. 8, 2017 - With President Donald J. Trump expected to take executive action on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law analyzed what lies ahead at a lecture last week at the University of Houston Law Center.

Dr. Gabriel Cavazos Villanueva served as the lecture's keynote speaker, in a presentation titled "Is there a future for NAFTA in the Trump era?"

"The short answer is there is no future for NAFTA, but something has to substitute for it," Cavazos Villanueva said. "Mexico has become the target of the new administration's proposed policies against immigration and fair trade. What's happening now in Mexico is a perception of fear and uncertainty."

Cavazos Villanueva said it's possible that the U.S. and Mexican officials will sign off on a new trade agreement similar to NAFTA, but it would likely exclude Canada.

"Mexico is the wrong target," he said. "Mexico and Canada represent 10 percent of the U.S. trade deficit, with Mexico at 8 percent and Canada at 2 percent. It's possible NAFTA will be re-negotiated without Canada but it would end the North American idea of the agreement. This is a dynamic area, and if there is a trade war all of the countries will be losers."

The event was sponsored by the North American Consortium on Legal Education.

Cavazos Villanueva serves as Interim Director of the North American Consortium on Legal Education and the associate dean for Social Sciences and Humanities at Tecnológico de Monterrey. He has worked in various areas of public administration at municipal, state and federal levels, including advising the Senate. He has participated in binational panels established under the settlement system of international commercial disputes of Chapter XIX of NAFTA, and serves as a consultant in various areas of international law.

Cavazos Villanueva has been published in journals like the Tulane Law Journal and is a member of the editorial committee of the Mexican Comparative Law Bulletin. He also has been involved in various seminars in the U.S., Canada, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany and Panama, and worked as a visiting professor at Baylor University.

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