Trump Calls Trudeau `Great Friend' as Nafta Tension Remain High
13 October, 2017, 00:43 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
The North American Free Trade Agreement, long disparaged by President Donald Trump as bad for the United States, was edging closer toward collapse as negotiators gathered for a fourth round of contentious talks here this week.
"While NAFTA modernization is important, we urge caution in considering the jobs that might be lost and the prices American consumers may incur as the result of changes to key aspects of the agreement", said AIADA President Cody Lusk in a statement.
Asked during his appearance with Trudeau whether NAFTA was dead, Trump said, "We'll see what happens".
And he happened to be doing so at the very moment his successor Justin Trudeau was a few blocks away at the White House, discussing the same issue with the US president.
"It's a source of total uncertainty", said one of the NAFTA government officials familiar with details of the negotiations.
"There's a path to be optimistic", he said.
Pena Nieto's term is almost up in government and with Mexico one of the countries on Trudeau's priority list for stronger relations, one goal of this visit is to forge new relationships and cement Canada's standing in the eyes of Mexicans as a trusted partner in all things, not just trade.
His primary goal was to protect USA workers, Trump said, noting Trudeau would also seek to protect Canadians. "Canada will continue to work with the U.S.to modernize NAFTA so that people in Canada, the United States, and Mexico can benefit from good, well-paying jobs and increased opportunities to provide for their families".
In lieu of an agreement, Trump said that he could envision the United States pursuing separate deals with Mexico and Canada, a move that would be a nonstarter with business groups and among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Trudeau told reporters in Washington DC that he agreed with the USA president that that the NAFTA trade deal needed to be revamped and that any new agreement needed to "give citizens opportunities to succeed". "We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need".
Under current rules, at least 62% of the parts in a vehicle sold in North America must come from the region to avoid being hit with taxes at the border.
Without NAFTA, Mexico trade experts say USA products would face higher tariffs to enter Mexico, which could further skew the trade balance.
"Thus far, we have made good progress, and I look forward to several days of hard work", Lighthizer said.
"Withdrawing from or weakening trade agreements like NAFTA would only benefit our competitors in Europe and Asia, including China", Bolten said. USA negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say. After Donohue made his comments supporting the Nafta, Emily Davis, spokeswoman for the Office of the US Trade Representative, reiterated the administration's position.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue, speaking in Mexico City on Tuesday, pledged to fight "like hell" to defend Nafta if Trump tries to pull out. "We have always understood that draining the swamp would be controversial in Washington".
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