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US And Canada In Open Feud Over NAFTA

19 October, 2017, 00:36 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • US And Canada In Open Feud Over NAFTA

In a recent note to clients, Edward Glossop, Latin America economist at Capital Economics, said the currency could tumble to at least 22 per dollar, but probably further, to about 22.50 or 23 per dollar if the trade deal were to collapse.

US senators, including Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, pushed for a strong commitment to avoid currency manipulation in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from before lawmakers approved it.

Nafta negotiators are working on a side deal for the U.S., Canada and Mexico to make a non-binding pledge to avoid devaluing their currencies for competitive purposes, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland accused the United States on Tuesday of "a winner-take-all" mindset that sought to undermine the agreement and she took aim at USA proposals on rules of origin for duty-free trade in autos and for rules on access to markets for government procurement contracts.

Canada maintains it does not have a trade surplus with the USA, a point Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland routinely uses to illustrate her point that it's not a good way to measure the success or failure of NAFTA.

After four rounds of talks squeezed into a two-month period, negotiators will now allow a month-long cooling-off period before returning to the bargaining table in Mexico on November 17. "We must ensure that the decisions that we make today do not come back to haunt us tomorrow".

In the U.S., legislation will expire in July that gives the Trump administration more extensive authority to negotiate trade deals and then submit them to Congress for a simple up or down vote, without amendments.

"It is not clear how the (U.S.) administration would expect to reduce the trade deficit through the renegotiation".

"Economists generally argue that it is not feasible to use trade agreement provisions as a tool to decrease the deficit because trade imbalances are determined by underlying macroeconomic fundamentals", says the 37-page report.

"We have seen no indications that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits", he said.

But companies have built complicated supply chains that straddle NAFTA borders, taking advantage of each country's strengths - such as cheap labor in Mexico and skilled workers and proximity to customers in the United States and Canada.

"Frankly, I am surprised and disappointed by the resistance to change from our negotiating partners", said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, flanked by his Canadian and Mexican counterparts.

"We don't really have a plan beyond trying to get a good agreement", he said, adding that he believes if NAFTA ends, "all three countries would do just fine" because "there are a lot of reasons to trade".

"The United States shares strong economic ties with Mexico and Canada". He also said all nations "have limits".


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