NAFTA successor deal makes USA bottom line clearer
29 August, 2018, 00:38 | Author: Lawrence Cooper
- Canada's minister of foreign affairs is scheduled to hold talks in Washington on Tuesday in hopes of reaching a tradeagreement with the United States, an urgent response after President Donald Trump announced a deal with Mexico on Monday that left out Canada.
"There are still issues with Canada, but I think they could be resolved very quickly", the official said.
The sides also agreed that 40-45 percent of cars must be made at "high wage" factories where workers receive $16 an hour in order to receive duty-free treatment, something that could deter off-shoring United States auto manufacturing to Mexico.
Perhaps most significantly, much of the auto production would have to be done by people earning at least $16 per hour.
The tentative agreement would revise details in the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump vehemently opposes and wants to scrap in favor of a new trilateral deal, or separate bilateral deals with Mexico and Canada.
Earlier in the day, a spokesperson for Freeland said: "Canada is encouraged by the continued optimism shown by our negotiating partners". Moreover, a new trade agreement with Mexico would require Congress to pass implementing legislation by a majority of both houses before it could come into force.
The president said he is willing to call Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, adding, "If they'd like to negotiate fairly, we'll do that".
He indicated he would take a tough line with Canada on autos and dairy tariffs, long a source of tension between the neighboring countries.
Trump made the comments after announcing an "understanding" with Mexico that could lead to an overhaul of the 24-year-old trade pact, which Trump has called a job-killing "disaster".
Mr. Lopez Obrador called for a three-way trade deal, saying "it's important that Canada also be included". The new deal could have a great impact on the Texas economy.
"Unsurprisingly, the Mexican peso gained as did the Canadian dollar too to be fair, and even the euro strengthened as it perhaps signals greater odds of a trade breakthrough between the U.S. and European Union (although a stronger IFO probably helped too)".
Canada - which Trump had previously threatened with possible tariffs on cars coming to the United States - was notably absent from the agreement.
Talks have also been stymied by the Trump administration's insistence on a "sunset clause" that would end NAFTA in five years unless all three countries agreed to continue it. "They want to negotiate very badly..." After six years, the countries would review the agreement and decide whether it needed to be updated or changed.
The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement resolving key bilateral trade issues.
Auto manufacturing: The new deal would require that 75% of the parts in any vehicle sold in North America be produced in the United States or Mexico.
A major part of the agreement surrounds import taxes on cars.
Under the president's trade promotion authority, the White House notified Congress a year ago that it was renegotiating NAFTA, not seeking a new bilateral pact with Mexico.
It would also be a big win for Mr Trump if he could have a deal ready to go before Americans head to the polls. Ultimately, the framework agreement reached between the United States and Mexico seems to enshrine the opening of Mexico's oil patch and provide guarantees for foreign investors.
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Adam Austen, who speaks for the foreign affairs minister, says Canada had been in regular contact with the NAFTA negotiators. Separately, a Mexican source familiar with the talks said it was "almost certain" there would be an announcement on Monday.
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