March 21, 2018

Donald Trump refuses to commit to trade pact — NAFTA

13 October 2017, 12:06 | Austin Hogan

Trudeau and Trump speak at the G20 summit in Hamburg Germany in July

Trudeau G20 Germany 20170708

President Trump on Wednesday signaled the possibility of the US striking a bilateral trade deal with Canada if talks to renegotiate NAFTA break down.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, one of Trump's top trade advisers, downplayed the chances that a NAFTA termination would become necessary. Meanwhile, Trump ally Newt Gingrich was advising observers to ignore the bluster and expect the pact's salvation.

Visiting Washington on Wednesday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters that he thinks "it is very important and very possible to get a win-win-win" from the NAFTA talks.

Mexico's Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo gestures to journalists after the 9th US-Mexico CEO Dialogue in Mexico City, Mexico October 11, 2017. International Trade and Customs Attorney Dan Ujczo said the tone of Trump Administration negotiators is getting more aggressive. "It's possible we won't be able to reach a deal with one or the other, but in the meantime we'll make a deal with one".

Trade experts predict the fourth round of the talks will probably stall as the US aggressively pushes for controversial changes to a rule governing how cars are made. Trudeau, for his own part, cautioned against speculation and emphasized the prospects for an agreement.

Labour unions, such as the Canadian union Unifor, have lobbied hard for the NAFTA renegotiation to address those disparities. "My optimism is based on the fact I know how good it has been".

Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw if he does not win concessions to reduce a US trade deficit of around $64 billion with Mexico.

NAFTA eliminated trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico to generate trade growth. "We have to provide certainty for investment to succeed to create jobs and grow our economies". Meantime, Reed noted that much USA -made wine being brought into Canada is subject to a tax, whereas Canadian wine brought into the United States is not. It has argued repeatedly that the trade pact is critical to USA industries such as agriculture and manufacturing. But speaking to media after the talks, Trudeau also appeared to signal openness to a new two-country accord if that is what it takes to save free trade between the US and Canada. He said the likelihood of passing a deal would drop after the so-called fast-track authority expires in July.

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Reed, a Corning Republican, and Rep. Brian Higgins, a Buffalo Democrat, joined other members of the House Ways and Means Committee in a morning meeting with Trudeau, who was later scheduled to meet with President Trump. The Trump administration is demanding that change as well.

"Let's just agree to disagree", Ross replied.

Trudeau met Trump in the Oval Office at the start of a new round of talks over NAFTA.

The negotiators are under pressure to reach a deal this year - before presidential elections in Mexico and midterm elections in the United States raise the political temperature in 2018.

Harper, whose Conservatives governed Canada from 2006 to 2015, warned that companies should be studying the consequences if the deal collapses.

NAFTA "no longer has the value it once had in terms of market access", he said Tuesday, because tariffs have fallen worldwide. "It has to be a lot more than some kind of technical revamp and I think that's going to be tough to get to". But he stressed that Trump needed fundamental changes.

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", Donohue said at an event hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Mexico, where he said the "existential threat" to NAFTA threatened regional security. We don't desire that it will.

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