Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has launched a poll seeking a name for the trade deal replacing NAFTA
Mexico City (AFP) - What’s in a name?
Quite a lot, would likely be the answer of US President Donald Trump, whose insistence on renaming the trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico has now sent the latter scrambling for a Spanish-language equivalent.
Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched an online poll Tuesday to choose a name in Spanish for the three countries’ new trade deal.
The new US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was named in a nod to Trump, who bashed what he called the “bad connotations” of its nearly 25-year-old predecessor, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
Mexican officials had been calling it the AEUMC – short for Acuerdo Estados Unidos-Mexico-Canada, a direct translation – or simply the USMCA, following the English.
But Lopez Obrador, the anti-establishment leftist who will become Mexico’s president on December 1, announced on Twitter that he, too, wants a new name.
“What name seems best to you, of the following proposals?” he asked his 4.5 million followers, launching a Twitter poll.
“A.) TEUMECA: T.ratado / E.stados U.nidos/ ME.xico / CA.nada
“B.) T-MEC: T.ratado / M.exico / E.stados Unidos / C.anada
“C.) None of the above.”
He said the idea for the poll came from his chief negotiator on the deal, Jesus Seade, who participated in the talks as an observer alongside the outgoing Mexican government’s delegation after Lopez Obrador won a landslide election victory on July 1.
“USMCA is the acronym in English. We need to adopt a name in our language,” he said Seade told him.
“It needs to be pronounceable in Spanish.”
Commentators have noted that Trump has a fondness for renaming things.
Former president Barack Obama once joked that he asked Trump to rebrand his signature health care program, “Obamacare,” and take credit for making “wonderful changes” while leaving the rest intact.
Trump has reportedly even invented a name for Lopez Obrador, calling him “Juan Trump” – an apparent reference to their rough similarities.
Despite the ideological differences between the Republican billionaire and the leftist president-elect, both are free-trade skeptics with populist tendencies who mobilized a disgruntled base.
Canada, Mexico and the United States reached a deal on September 30 to update NAFTA after more than a year of arduous negotiations triggered by Trump, who called the agreement a “rip-off” that cost the US millions of jobs.