losangelesnewstoday.com March 22, 2018

USA signalling Trump's Buy American agenda non-negotiable in NAFTA talks

25 August 2017, 01:27 | Maryann Sutton

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Trucks wait in the queue for border customs control to cross into U.S. at the Bridge of Americas in Ciudad Juarez

Trump has long voiced his displeasure with NAFTA, a 1994 trade pact that governs well over a $1 trillion worth of two-way trade in US goods and services. "They (Mexico and Canada) have made such great deals - both of the countries, but in particular Mexico - that I don't think we can make a deal".

Daniel Ujczo, a trade lawyer with Dickinson Wright, said he doubts that an overhauled NAFTA would do much to narrow America's trade deficit or restore lost USA manufacturing jobs - results that Trump had vowed to deliver to the blue-collar voters in the Midwest who helped elect him.

"We welcome the opportunity to identify ways to modernize NAFTA while preserving the core benefits of the agreement", he said.

At least 700,000 Americans have lost jobs due to changing trade flows resulting from NAFTA, Lighthizer asserted.

The territory also imported $50 million worth of goods and services from the USA that year - mostly fish and petroleum products. But he also touted Mexico as Texas' largest trading partner - noting that Texas sends more exports there than any other state - and predicted an improved trade agreement after negotiations. In Congress, farm-state lawmakers have urged USA negotiators to do nothing that would imperil US agricultural exports to Mexico and Canada.

"I told you from the first day, we will renegotiate NAFTA, or we will terminate NAFTA", Trump said.

It's no surprise that brands around the world want Ronaldo, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, to endorse their products.

"Abruptly ending NAFTA could create a string of unintended consequences that need to be carefully considered", said Ann Wilson, an executive at the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents auto suppliers.

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Presidents Zippy Duvall of the American Farm Bureau Federation, Ron Bonnett of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and Bosco de la Vega of the National Agricultural Council in Mexico made their point during a news conference in Washington, D.C., last week in support of NAFTA.

Trump's remarks may be a negotiating tactic, a way of sending a message to Mexico that it should not push back too hard against positions taken by the U.S.in the negotiations.

After all, the vehicle you now drive most likely has parts that spent time in one way or another in Canada, Mexico and the United States (not to mention Asia and/or Europe).

In a joint statement issued at the end of five days of negotiations in Washington, the top trade officials from the three countries said Mexico would host the next round of talks from September 1 to 5. "Trump even admitted in a private conversation with Mexico that his border wall promise was 'the least important thing'".

The Mexican peso was weaker Wednesday after President Donald Trump said at a rally the evening before that he was willing to shut down the government to build a wall on the USA border with Mexican.

"This was always a card we knew the president would likely play ... it may have been a bit earlier than expected", the official said on the condition of anonymity.

"That's baked into every trade promotion authority bill and into every free-trade agreement", she said. "And especially for a border state like Arizona", Taylor said.

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