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Mexico: Trump Warning to Cancel NAFTA is Only a Strategy

Mexico: Trump Warning to Cancel NAFTA is Only a Strategyā€¯

At a contentious rally in Phoenix, Arizona Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump stated that the NAFTA renegotiations, which began last week, will probably end with the U.S. terminating the agreement.

Whether we like it or not, Trump's NAFTA bluster matters, and it's going to make any kind of deal much more hard to attain.

"Personally, I don't think we can make a deal, because we have been so badly taken advantage of, they have made such great deals, both of the countries, but in particular Mexico, that I don't think we can make a deal".

Trump said at the campaign-style rally that he believes Mexico and Canada are coming out ahead on the 23-year-old trade agreement.

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In this brief, we discuss the sharp rise in USA government lobbying in the run up to the NAFTA renegotiations, the reform of Chapter 11 (the investor-state dispute settlement chapter of NAFTA), and a Trade Case Alert relating to certain polyethylene terephthalate resin from China, India, Oman and Pakistan. Second, in contrast to regular trade talks, should renegotiation discussions go awry, it is by no means clear that you can simply return to the status quo. It's credited with fostering a rapid rise in commerce and closer diplomatic ties among the three countries, but the agreement has long fueled heated criticism in the US because it led some American-based manufacturers to move operations south of the border to capitalize on lower-wage Mexican labour.

Mexican and Canadian leaders have framed their aims as "modernizing" NAFTA to better reflect how trade works now, including adding guidelines for e-commerce. He called the president "full of threats and bluster", and said Trump missed an important opportunity.

He estimated that this is a very particular style of the USA president, so he is not surprised. The truth is, the end of NAFTA would hurt all three partner countries.

The president had made the same threat in April but then reversed himself after a pushback from American businesses, especially farm groups, which have benefited from expanded access to the Mexican market resulting from NAFTA. Since NAFTA was negotiated, biotechnology has expanded significantly.

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While it's being pulled in one direction by Canada and Mexico, urging it to reduce Buy American rules for public-works contracts, and in the other direction by domestic US politicians seeking an increase in Buy American, the administration has issued a reminder that it's working on a separate path. Indeed, Todd Tucker, a trade specialist and fellow with the left-wing Roosevelt Institute, thinks that overall Trump's stated negotiating objects look like "TPP with fewer countries" rather than the comprehensive rethinking of trade policy that Trump promised and Tucker favors. The internet was still an obscure idea in its infancy and Mexico's energy sector was closed off from investment from the outside world. "I agree with our USA senators that NAFTA should be updated and not terminated, and I think even threatening to terminate is not in the best interest of the Texas economy".

He said Trump's comments also could damage the "friendship and economic alliance that the US and Mexico share".

Mexican officials seemed unaffected by Trump's threat to withdraw.

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