In This Review

Negotiating NAFTA: A Mexican Envoy's Account
Negotiating NAFTA: A Mexican Envoy's Account
By Hermann von Bertrab
Praeger, 1997, 174 pp

Von Bertrab, who holds a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Texas at Austin, was recruited from the Mexican private sector to coordinate Mexico's NAFTA negotiating team's Washington offices. The Mexicans quickly learned they needed the best advice money could buy in order to navigate the intricacies of Congress and to galvanize public support. Von Bertrab was soon directing an armada of government-relations advisers, law firms, lobbyists, public relations firms, former congressional staffers, and government officials, as well as assiduously courting the U.S. Hispanic community. The acrimony of the debate nevertheless came as a shock. Yet as NAFTA took effect on January 1, 1994, rebellion broke out in Chiapas, and before the year was out Mexico suffered a traumatic currency devaluation. Perhaps by learning so well how to work the American political system, these Mexican technocrats paid too little attention to what was happening at home.