Trudeau turns attention to Mexico in midst of tensions over NAFTA

Oct 13, 2017, 00:09
Trudeau turns attention to Mexico in midst of tensions over NAFTA

The trade negotiations this week in Washington have gotten off to a rocky start, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warning that the Trump administration might be sabotaging the talks with unrealistic proposals.

Victor Herrera, who's spent 35 years covering Latin American financial markets, warns that NAFTA's demise would have major effects.

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.

Although Trudeau officials were confident Trump would mostly target Mexico as the three nations started to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, Washington has slapped duties on Canadian Bombardier airliners and lumber exports in recent months and talked tough on dairy and wine.

Trade was a touchy subject during Trudeau's visit to Washington, after the USA slapped a 220 percent retaliatory duty on Canadian planemaker Bombardier's CS100 and CS300 aircraft over allegations of dumping.

"Growth could be 1 percent higher if the country had better accountability and more transparency". USA negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say.

Reuters says that if Britain did join NAFTA, exporters to the European Union and North America would have to produce goods in accordance with the two separate sets of rules, according to trade analysts.

"I think Justin understands this, if we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine", Trump said.

Today, Prime Minister Trudeau arrives in Mexico for meetings with President Enrique Pena Nieto. Trudeau said he was still optimistic about modernizing the trade deal and the Canadian Dollar has stabilized over the last few sessions, helped by a weaker greenback. Trump left open the possibility that the USA would seek to establish bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico if talks were to break down. "So we'll see what happens with NAFTA", Trump said, adding that it "has to be fair to both countries".

If the deal falls apart, the United States, Canada and Mexico would go back to a system of low tariffs on imports.

Without NAFTA, Mexico trade experts say USA products would face higher tariffs to enter Mexico, which could further skew the trade balance. The National Automobile Dealers Association said it was concerned about any changes that would make cars costlier.

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.

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