Trump warns it's 'possible' the USA will drop out of Nafta

12 October, 2017, 21:50 | Author: Valerie Burke
  • USA Trump and Trudeau at the White House | NAFTA

The CEO meeting ran in parallel to talks near Washington aimed at refreshing the 1994 agreement, with Mexico, Canada and businesses united in opposition to a number of radical US proposals they say would damage the North American economy.

A rocky start to talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Washington this week is raising questions about the 23-year-old trade accord's fate.

Those proposals include removing dispute resolution mechanisms, limiting trade in fresh produce and introducing minimum quotas for US parts in autos.

Hosting the Canadian prime minister at the Oval Office, Trump said the United States had "a tough negotiation" over NAFTA ahead, which also includes Mexico, adding that it had to be fair to all countries.

Trump added that a "very creative" deal was still possible to benefit all three countries.

Once again, President Trump is throwing around threats to nix the trade deal that's been in place for more than 20 years.

"We'll see what happens", Trump told reporters in the Oval Office after being asked whether NAFTA was dead. But what he wants — from requiring that more auto production be made-in-America to shifting more government contracts to USA companies — will likely be unacceptable to America's two NAFTA partners, Mexico and Canada.

Canada, which shares Washington's concern over competition from cheap Mexican labor, is notably pushing for Mexico to improve workers' wages under the new NAFTA - something the Pena Nieto administration says should be determined by the market, not dictated by a trade deal. "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".

Coming up with ways to achieve "fairer trade" was "the president's focus, and it's certainly my focus", Trudeau said.

"If we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine", Trump said.

The U.S. side sees strengthening the rules of origin for the auto industry as a way to bring back some auto parts production, including electronics, from Asia. Scheduled talks in this session have been extended by two days to Tuesday. But Mexico strongly opposes a US -specific content requirement, which would limit the growth of its own auto industry. "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal".

On Tuesday, Donohue also singled out a "sunset clause" that would automatically terminate NAFTA every five years unless there were fresh negotiations.

That meeting resolved some long-standing disputes between the two countries, including a reopening of Mexico to Canadian beef and a lift of the visa requirement the former Conservative government had imposed on Mexican nationals in response to thousands of asylum claims being lodged by them.

Or perhaps separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico will be the way forward, the president suggested. Levy said. "Or are they going to take this as a pretext and say: 'We tried negotiations; they failed". On the campaign trail, he called NAFTA a job-killing disaster.

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