Sunday, 22 October, 2017

Prime Minister concludes visit to Washington, DC

Trudeau turns attention to Mexico in midst of tensions over NAFTA Trump: Trade deal possible with Canada, minus Mexico
Andrew Cummings | 13 October, 2017, 00:44

The Prime Minister reiterated Canada's commitment to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for the benefit of all three partners - Canada, the US, and Mexico.

"Despite the non-cooperative approach to some of our Administration's policy proposals, our counterparts in Mexico and Canada are still negotiating with us in full faith". "We have to be prepared for the different scenarios that could come out of this negotiation".

US President Trump has warned that tough talks lie ahead on the future of NAFTA, indicating that the US could withdraw. Trump made revamping or ending NAFTA - which he has called "a awful deal for our country" - a core pillar of his election campaign as he promised more benefits for U.S. workers in worldwide trade deals.

Trump has made revamping the pact and reducing U.S. trade deficits a core pillar of his election campaign, but has not set out exactly what changes he would like to make. He added that a multi-party deal like NAFTA offers benefits that bilateral pacts can't, pointing to the current Bombardier-Boeing dispute as one example. The Trump administration has imposed hefty duties on Bombardier's C-Series jetliner.

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer announced that talks had been extended by 48 hours and would conclude on Tuesday.

"There is life after NAFTA", Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said Tuesday in an interview with Radio Formula.

Prior to sitting down with Trudeau, Trump said it would be fine if NAFTA was terminated, although members of Congress expressed hope earlier in the day it could be reworked.

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With a nationalist economic agenda, Trump has denounced the agreement as a job destroyer and a "disaster" for the United States, vowing to reverse offshoring by renegotiating the treaty.

"My optimism toward NAFTA, toward a renegotiation, isn't based on personality or reading political tea leaves", Trudeau said following his talks with Trump. Reuters-London reports Britain could join a formal trade alliance with the United States, Canada and Mexico if the European Union refuses to finalize a post-Brexit trade deal by 2019.

Trump has threatened to scrap the 1994 pact unless changes are made to address issues such as a $64 billion deficit with Mexico. "It makes sense to modernize it", said Glenn Hamer, president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal".

He cited in particular a provision to allow the agreement to expire in five years unless all parties agreed to extend it.

"We have an incredibly close relationship. This clause would achieve the opposite effect".

Pena Nieto's term is almost up in government and with Mexico one of the countries on Trudeau's priority list for stronger relations, one goal of this visit is to forge new relationships and cement Canada's standing in the eyes of Mexicans as a trusted partner in all things, not just trade.

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