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Mexico economy minister sees potential to resolve NAFTA pre-election

Mexico economy minister sees potential to resolve NAFTA pre-election

Mr. Lighthizer said the USA would prefer to reach a three-way agreement on Nafta but would still consider bilateral accords if that isn't possible.

"I think the way they are handling it now, I think they're doing well", he said. These aren't the sort of things you can just decide bang, bang.

But the goods deficits are more than made up by the service surplus.

He repeated the comment made by the government last week that Canada will take responsive measures if the usa goes ahead with the tariffs. It's just that Mr. Trump is still likely to hurt the US economy in the process.

Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico's presidential election and the looming expiry of a congressional negotiating authorization in July puts the onus on the United States, Mexico and Canada to come up with a plan soon.

A more realistic timetable in Weekes's mind would be a deal by December.

"I'll have a right to go up or down depending on the country, and I'll have a right to drop out countries or add countries", he said. "The Canadian beef sector has from time to time relied on dispute settlement, typically under the World Trade Organization (WTO), and strengthening the NAFTA option would provide a meaningful alternative to the WTO".

The original NAFTA took 14 months to negotiate. That deal that fell through due to the Canadian dairy supply.

The current negotiations are into their seventh month. He said the three negotiators believe "that an adequate landing strip exists to achieve an agreement that we can keep with great advantages to our three countries". Today, U.S. producers sell about as much avocado as they did before NAFTA, but thanks to NAFTA and trade, avocados cost less than they would otherwise, and Americans eat four times as many of them.




But the NAFTA veterans suspect something else is afoot. They say that exemptions for specific countries to the tariffs would only allow China - whose huge plant expansions have driven a global glut of steel and aluminium - to skirt the duties by exporting through third countries.

But Trudeau described the tariff threat as unhelpful. Charles Payne of Fox Business News points out that the European Union is offended by America's new tariffs on steel and aluminum, but levies 10% tariffs on all USA auto imports.

Weekes offers two bits of advice to the Canadians. "Now, one of them made that statement before I got elected", he said. "Before NAFTA (lowered trade barriers), there were 285,000 autoworkers in MI", he says. Knowing the game could end in higher tariffs for USA farm products, they are engaging with more reliable suppliers.

A similar plan has been voiced by White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday, who stated that that details on steel and aluminum tariffs would be announced by the end of this week.

Weekes suggests mapping out a longer-than-necessary list of products, potential retaliatory targets, where tariffs would create maximum political damage for American politicians, but the least economic damage. And he would ignore the Economics 101 lectures about tariffs being mutually destructive.

Even without the impact of tariffs, reaching Trump's goal of a sustained 3 percent growth pace will be a challenge. "This is where it really gets awkward because whoever blinks first, that's where trade wars start".

Canada and Mexico say they should be exempted from such moves, and have warned they could retaliate.

These statements, however, are not highlighted by precision: in 2017 the United States trade deficit was 566,000 million dollars (375,000 with China), being that the record was a deficit of 708,000 million in 2008, according to official data. The press conference included the personal stories of how farmers and businesses rely on an integrated supply chain between NAFTA partners and tool place on the sidelines of the NAFTA negotiations in Mexico City. News late Tuesday of the departure of former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn stoked suspicions he'd lost in a tug-of-war over tariffs.

President Donald Trump speaks at the Latino Coalition Legislative Summit, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Washington.


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