ibusinesslines.com March 19, 2018

Trudeau fights to save NAFTA deal, but Trump offers little hope

12 October 2017, 09:52 | Erica Roy

He sounds like he really means

He sounds like he really means

President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put up a front of accommodation and cooperation at the White House that belies the alarms being raised by industry and farm groups over changes to Nafta being pushed by the U.S.

Asked about Trump's comments at a news conference later, Trudeau said he was still optimistic about the chances of modernizing the 1994 trade pact.

"As far as I can tell there is not a world oversupply of agricultural products", Ross said during a panel discussion in Washington, D.C., Wednesday, calling the potential dangers of a NAFTA withdrawal to food producers an "empty threat".

Trudeau added that Canada was "very much aware of and very braced for" Trump's unpredictability, but his government would work in a "thoughtful, meaningful way towards getting a good deal".

He also spoke about the possibility of signing a bilateral agreement.

The rules of origin demands are among several conditions that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has labeled "poison pill proposals" that threaten to torpedo the talks.

"I continue to believe in NAFTA; I continue to believe that as a continent working together in complementary ways is better for our citizens and better for economic growth, and allows us to compete on a stronger footing with the global economy", Trudeau said. US negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say. "We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need".

For last one and a half years, US President Trump criticised the agreement and also hinted to take some serious steps being in the administration or at least send some ultimatums. We're going to do well.

Both Canada and the USA are in favour of making an environment agreement in the new NAFTA instead of designing a separate deal.

"The Canadian and Mexican strategy will be to take a pause", he says, and "allow the US domestic process to play itself out" with business and farm groups and many lawmakers rising to defend NAFTA.

So the administration has been seeking to ensure that more auto production be made in America to receive NAFTA benefits, that more government contracts in the NAFTA bloc go to US companies and that NAFTA expire unless the countries agreed every few years to extend it. NAFTA requires at least 62 percent of a car's parts to be made in North America before the vehicle can avoid import tariffs and taxes.

Or perhaps separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico will be the way forward, the president suggested.

The negotiations are being held at the demand of Trump, who this week repeated his threat to pull the USA out of the 23-year-old accord. Added Kildee, "We used to have 79,000 jobs in Flint", his hometown, making auto parts. But Mexico strongly opposes a US -specific content requirement, which would limit the growth of its own auto industry. Scheduled talks in this session have been extended by two days to Tuesday.

But the USA president also said it's too early to give up on the negotiations, which resumed Wednesday in nearby Alexandria, Va.

Overall trade between the three Nafta partners reached $1.1 trillion in 2016.

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