By Dave Graham and David Ljunggren, Crain News Service
MEXICO CITY/OTTAWA — From launching a data-mining drive aiming to find supply-chain pressure points to sending officials to mobilize allies in key U.S. states, Mexico and Canada are bolstering their defenses of a regional trade pact U.S. President Donald Trump vows to rewrite.
Mr. Trump has blamed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs and has threatened to tear it up if he fails to get a better deal.
The automotive stakes are high for both Mexico and Canada, which rely on the industry for thousands of jobs at several major assembly plants and many more parts operations.
Fearing the massive disruptions that a U.S. pullout could cause, the U.S.'s neighbors and two biggest export markets have focused on sectors most exposed to a breakdown in free trade and with the political clout to influence the Trump Administration.
That encompasses many of the states that swept Mr. Trump to power in November and senior politicians such as Vice President Mike Pence, a former Indiana governor, or U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Prominent CEOs on Mr. Trump's business councils are also key targets, according to people familiar with the lobbying push.
Mexico, for example, has picked out the governors of Texas, Arizona and Indiana as potential allies.
Decision makers in Michigan, North Carolina, Minnesota, Illinois, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, California and New Mexico are also on Mexico's priority list, according to people involved in talks.