Published: Mon, February 05, 2018
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Prolonged NAFTA Talks Could Slow Economy Growth

Prolonged NAFTA Talks Could Slow Economy Growth

"Canada, for example, may use the negotiations to push for more predictability surrounding the approval of pipelines and power lines crossing into the US, following years of squabbling over TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL project".

On that day, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray will talk with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. The deal has been going downhill ever since Donald Trump was elected U.S. President.

US negotiator at the talks, Robert Lighthizer, has a differing view from Heyman. Since 2009, I think, about [$87 billion] has been invested in North America, in the automotive industry. Earlier this month, Trump tweeted that NAFTA was a "bad joke" and vowed to use the bargaining over a trade deal to make Mexico pay for a wall along the US southern border. Missouri U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill are spot on when they deem the trade deal a success, particularly for U.S. farmers.

"This round was a step forward, but we are progressing very slowly", Lighthizer said.

Companies that are publicly traded should also consider whether to revise their risks disclosure to incorporate a discussion on the implications of failed NAFTA renegotiations and a subsequent withdrawal by the US from NAFTA.

As part of its recent proposals, Canada also suggested finding ways to give credit for the use of steel and aluminum from North America and modernizing the so-called tracing list so there's less red tape for companies trying to comply, Freeland said.

"Canadians do not view free trade as a zero sum game in which one side must lose in order for the other to win", she said in a CBC story. Canadian negotiators have to know they are in for some pretty tough sledding if they hope to get a deal.

But can there even be a deal?

Canada's auto proposals presented in Montreal didn't include any specific numbers, Freeland said, and negotiators have said they weren't meant to be counter-proposals to the rules of origin ratios the US has put forth.

Furthermore, 36 Republican Senators have now written USA president Donald Trump asking that he "keep NAFTA in place, but modernize it" because that would serve to "expand energy exports to maximize domestic energy production" and along with other measures (including his corporate tax cuts) "fuel historic growth". The U.S. rejected this approach, arguing it would not do enough to force auto makers to use more vehicle parts manufactured on the continent.

"Significant differences remain", Freeland said.

You've also made a big point of getting US safety standards applied to free trade agreements.

"That's how these things work", she said.

That group estimates roughly 400,000 Texas jobs, many in agriculture and manufacturing industries, depend on NAFTA.

But despite his vow that the negotiations could be used to make Mexico pay for a border wall, Mexican officials say privately that the wall has not been discussed in the talks. Based on the limited progress, it would appear that additional rounds of negotiations beyond the next one, scheduled to begin February 26 in Mexico City, will be required before a final agreement is reached.

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