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Trump, Trudeau differ on NAFTA talks

Trump, Trudeau differ on NAFTA talks

Prime Minister Trudeau met with U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisors in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in an effort to break a tightening deadlock on negotiations aimed at reforming the trilateral NAFTA agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Yet, Prime Minister Trudeau was told at the meeting that the U.S.is considering scrapping the trade deal and interested in negotiating a new trade agreement with Canada that excludes Mexico. "So we'll see what happens with Nafta, but I've been opposed to Nafta for a long time, in terms of the fairness of Nafta".

Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo is the man in charge of Mexico's NAFTA team, and he said this week that Mexico's economy has advanced to a point where it can live without the trilateral trade accord.

United States proposals include limiting the number of federal government contracts that Mexican and Canadian companies can win, a provision that would cause the deal to automatically expire in five years unless all three countries vote to renew, and changes in how much of a product needs to be made in North America to come under Nafta protections. But some made-in-America hawks have pushed the Trump administration to advocate for an increase in the requirement to as much as 90 percent of autos to be made with parts that originated in the three countries in order to receive the exemption, or boost the percentage that has to come directly from the U.S.

NAFTA Negotiations Taking Place in Washington
Negotiators face a list of daunting US demands, including a sharply increased USA content in autos manufactured under the deal. Robert Lighthizer declared at the outset that the U.S. wouldn't be satisfied with anything but a major overhaul.

Freeland describes the US administration as the most protectionist since the 1930s while noting the United States runs a surplus in the trade of goods and services with Canada.

Canadian Finance Minister William Morneau said today that he was optimistic for a new deal on North American trade, calling negotiations an "opportunity for improvement".

"There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal".

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The proposals call for North American content, overall, to rise to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent. Mexico strongly opposes such a move, which would damage its own auto industry. Representatives of the auto industry warned some of the US demands could raise prices for vehicles. The negotiations were extended on Wednesday by two days to Oct 17.

"U.S. negotiators have made conditions so tough that Mexico and Canada could reject them, which would be the flawless excuse for the USA government to announce its departure from NAFTA", Coutino wrote. The business lobby group said there were "several poison pill proposals" put on the table by the USA that could tank the renegotiations.

"There's been huge investments in Canada, the USA and Mexico, that are long-term assets", said Don Walker, chief executive officer of Magna International Inc. a Canada-based parts maker with more than 25,000 employees in the U.S.

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