MEXICO CITY, Aug. 7 (Xinhua) -- Mexico's Economy Minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said on Monday that he hoped the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would be wrapped up by early 2018 but stated that "we will not give up substance for speed."
"We will do our best for this negotiation to have clear objectives and to be very transparent so the markets may have a clear understanding of where we are going," said Guajardo during a meeting with senators.
While recognizing that Mexico and the U.S. are both facing elections in 2018 -- presidential in Mexico, legislative in the U.S.-- Guajardo said a mutually beneficial agreement would be sought.
He told senators that seven or eight rounds of negotiations are planned between August and December.
According to Guajardo, Mexico has three main concerns to bring to the table: the expansion of trade, not restrictions; Chapter 19 of NAFTA, which deals with conflict resolution between member countries; and safeguards to protect industries.
He vowed that Mexico had always been open to the world, standing for free trade and multilateral agreements.
The first round of NAFTA renegotiations is set for August 16-20 in Washington D.C.
NAFTA entered into force in 1994 but will be renegotiated at the demand of U.S. President Donald Trump, who feels it has been disadvantageous to his country.
Since 1994, Mexico's trade with the United States and Canada has grown by around 700 percent.