Latest NAFTA Talks End In Disappointment As Attendees Question Lack Of U.S. Engagement

President Trump has threatened a quick termination of NAFTA a countless number of times, with the latest coming just last weekend via twitter:

Of course, like with most Trump deals, it's often very difficult to differentiate between bombastic rhetoric utilized for establishing negotiating power and actual desired results.  According to Bloomberg, so far the speed of U.S. negotiations, led by Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, have failed to live up to the President's rhetoric leaving many to question whether a "deal" is the desired outcome for this administration.

The latest Nafta talks are nearing conclusion without a major breakthrough or agreements on even the least-contentious topics, officials familiar with the negotiations say, fueling doubts among observers that a deal can be reached this year.

 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is scheduled to speak publicly alongside Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Tuesday to conclude the second round of talks toward a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Their appearance will cap a five-day session in Mexico City.

 

While negotiators have made some progress, they have yet to agree on any major contentious issue and are far from a deal on individual Nafta chapters, the officials said, asking not to be identified discussing private matters. On some topics, discussion has been verbal with no specific text proposals submitted, they said.

 

The talks came after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened outright withdrawal from the agreement. While slow progress is normal in most trade negotiations, the nations have been seeking an unusually quick timeline for Nafta, and officials expressed doubt a deal could be reached by the target date of December. That sentiment is shared by many observers and stakeholders who say the U.S. has been slow in detailing its actual demands.

Trump

 

Meanwhile, folks from all sides attending negotiating sessions in Mexico City have been surprised by the lack of U.S. engagement with one trade strategist from Canada predicting that the earliest date for a possible deal would be February or March 2018.

David Wiens, a farmer and vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada, said he’s been surprised by the lack of written and firm policy proposals put forward by the U.S. government. That makes him believe it’s "a bit unrealistic" to get a deal by December.

 

"What we’re hearing on the ground here is the Americans have still not posted all the texts for the different chapters," Wiens said in an interview in Mexico City. "If there’s a strategy behind all of that, I’m certainly not recognizing it.”

 

"They can’t possibly finish. The Americans haven’t started negotiating yet," said Peter Clark, a trade strategist and former Canadian official. Jerry Dias, a Canadian labor leader, said he’d "be shocked if it gets done before Christmas."

 

Clark said the earliest possible date for a deal is February or March, and even then it would likely be an agreement-in-principle that wouldn’t be finalized until after Mexican and U.S. elections. "It’s not really a negotiation. What you have is a president who says he’s been robbed for years," Clark said. "He wants to break a contract without any penalty."

Finally, the most critical component of the NAFTA negotiations (or at least the component that gets all the media attention), auto manufacturing, apparently hasn't even been touched yet. 

One key issue without a firm policy proposal is what threshold the U.S. is seeking for the so-called rules of origin on the auto sector -- the share of a vehicle that must be sourced within Nafta countries to receive the pact’s benefits. The current level is 62.5 percent and Dias said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross wants a "significantly" higher figure.

 

The auto threshold is "the heart of the American objective," said Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association in Canada. "Negotiators will be very careful before pegging a rate that would drive assessments of success or failure.

 

The outlook isn’t entirely gloomy. One official described a two-track process -- a political one dominated by Trump’s threats, and a more constructive and technocratic track with negotiators plodding forward in search of agreement.

So what say you?  Is this all a clever charade from a White House that has no real interest in negotiating and would rather withdraw from NAFTA altogether, or is it all just another sign of a woefully unprepared, chaotic administration?

Comments

stizazz Duc888 Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:29 Permalink

Trump is ALL TALK, no action.

An ass who only has the strength to kick little kids out of the country, while bands of illegal thugs are roaming the streets.

In effect, like all tyrants, he only oppresses the innocents, while supporting those who do evil, like Apartheid IsraHell, and are of kindred spirit.

In reply to by Duc888

junction stizazz Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:41 Permalink

Resident Trump knows what he is doing, as shown by his vast experience filing bankruptcies, buying properties on the cheap and getting outrageously good deals from Russian financiers to buy golf courses and wineries.  Anyone who has worked for him knows he can be relied on to jam anyone trusting Trump, from loyal subordinates shown the door to contractors who are still waiting for their bills to be paid.  And let's not forget his blood enemy Hillary - mass murderer, dope dealer, looter and worse. Her NWO friends are doing everything to get Trump out of office, and they have the tools (their version of Murder Inc., staffed by guys with day jobs at the FBI and CIA) to get the job done violently.     

In reply to by stizazz

Dumpster Elite Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:27 Permalink

Here's a negotiating tactic...walk in the room, say "Here is our offer", and tear the POS agreement up. Why is it up to us to prop up a country run completely by drug cartels?

Iskiab null Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:58 Permalink

Paying a few extra dollars for replacement parts? What are you smoking.

Trade between just Canada and the US is 750 billion per year. Autopac (the agreement before NAFTA) was broken up by the WTO. The tariffs that are standard without an agreement is 26 percent, not to mention Canadian ownership laws will kick in limiting American companies (taken away with NAFTA), there were laws that state a certain percentage of companies have to be owned by Canadians.

Canada is 15 percent or so of all American exports. I'm sure this is being sold as a small thing on the news, but it definitely is not.

In reply to by null

Iskiab Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:30 Permalink

It's both, trump doesn't seem like a detail oriented guy, the negotiators are probably still waiting for a concrete ask from the White House.

What trump's really looking for is 'a win' without specifics. It'll be interesting to see what happens when there's no agreement in December. Will his aids be able to sway him to wait it out or will there be anarchy.

Another issue is there was already an auto agreement before nafta. If nafta goes will it default to that or will it be pulled too?

USTerminator Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:33 Permalink

Rule of Origin: 90% of NAFTA content. Tariff = 10% + (90 - NAFTA Content)Minimum wage of NAFTA: $5.00 per hour minimum. Index with inflation of each countryNAFTA must be trade balanced. Products from surplus countries will be automatically imposed trade adjustment fee until trade account balance.Now that is the deal I can support. 

AKKadian Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:37 Permalink

The whole purpose to put a big stamp on the agreement, Null and Void. To hell with you American hating Mexicans and Canadians. No government agreement will ever make things better. They are all Null and Void.!!! 

Soul Glow Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:37 Permalink

There is a lack of committment because Trump has no committment.  It's one of the things Trump is good at.  Walking away from a table not set the way he likes.

Iskiab sidfalco Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:16 Permalink

Sure, get rid of it, but do so in an extended and orderly fashion. There has been trade for decades and the supply chain of all companies were built on nafta. If you go and tear it up without a plan it'll mean losses for all sides.

Dumb Americans, you guys are constantly thinking about ways you can get more without thinking of the repercussions. Tearing up NAFTA without a long wind down means a guaranteed recession in all countries involved.

If there is a pan pacific agreement and no nafta, what do you think will happen to American business exports? Everything's made in China, what does Canada and Mexico need the US for? It will make US companies uncompetitive because of tariffs and they'll start buying them directly from china and cut out the middle man. The only thing stopping them from doing that now are intellectual property rights, rights from nafta.

In reply to by sidfalco

To Hell In A H… Tue, 09/05/2017 - 12:44 Permalink

Fuck the USSA. Let it drown in its own land of make-believe and lies. Abandon the dollar and go it alone, without the yoke of the USSA. The USSA needs to suck off the teats of the world, not the other way around.

Father ¢hristmas (not verified) Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:05 Permalink

You can't go to war from an island.You cannot run around the room shaking your little dick in everyone's face and pursue a protectionist economic stance, alienating neighbors and trade partners.  You can do one or the other, but not both.You end up forcing the guys you used to do business with to ally themselves with your enemies.Why would you continue to go to the bar with a friend who forces you to buy every round and then wants to fight everyone in the place?Fuck that nigga.  You will start going to another bar with different guys, moar than likely some of the same guys your asshole friend is always shitting on.Then the day will come when you and your new friends will throw that scumbag motherfucker a special party.*chuckle*

Deep Snorkeler Tue, 09/05/2017 - 13:09 Permalink

Trump, Our LeaderTrumpism: political-economic depravity.Government by neglect.Captain of dumb-speak.1930s eugenics, a secret plan.His flunkies, lackeys and sycophantsjoin him on the Dark Side.A photo of Trump in assless chaps. 

thedespised Deep Snorkeler Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:26 Permalink

You realize it's the virtue signalling Canadians who are actually in the wrong in all cases, right? I say this as a Canadian, and we are in the wrong.  Our shit is protectionist and government subsidised, just as the US states.  So, Canada is stupider.  He's part of the deep state, but against hillary and he exposed it to the world.  I'd say he's done more good than all the presidents and prime ministers combined.  

In reply to by Deep Snorkeler

cheech_wizard Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:21 Permalink

This was 5 days ago or so...https://www.reuters.com/article/us-trade-nafta-mexico-guajardo/mexico-c… they'll be shipping goods between the two countries via the Atlantic and Pacific oceans? That should be really entertaining.Oops... "Despite the fact that Canada is bordered on three sides by oceans and has the longest coastline in the world, today not a single ocean-going merchant vessel flies the Canadian flag."As for Mexico, I believe Tampico is their only viable port for commercial shipping. 

thedespised Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:23 Permalink

Our stupid fucking leadership went in with climate change requirements, when everyone there knows it's a scam!  They are idiots.  I can honestly say I think they believe their own lies. They really are that dumb.

kumquatsunite Tue, 09/05/2017 - 14:40 Permalink

Rahm Emanuel, in Chicago...land of gangs and guns, has now stated that Chicago schools are a Trump-free zone; all the illegal brats will be allowed in. Course, since the teachers of Chicago are the worst in the nation (when someone pointed that out to them and the news media began to pay attention to that fact, they pronto ended their strike and ran back to their desks teaching eubonics and slavery history...anything but self-reliance and self-responsibility!).Fact: 800,000 illegal children in the schools. Costs taxpayers (round number, averaged as some states a bit higher, some a bit lower) 9 BILLION 6 HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS per year for "educating" the illegal kids. So why can't your millenials who want to get married and buy a house do so? Maybe it's because they, like mine, are getting almost 30% of their wages removed in taxes to pay for the black Welfree and the ILLEGALS. If you wonder what drove business to leave the US, that's it. TAXES from Every president before Trump designed to pay for 80% of black out-of-wedlock kids and their moms, who think having a kid is a financial plan. You think not? Every kid diagnosed with Anything becomes "disabled," and a $800 a month check to the mom for the "disability." She then gets paid by social security to care for her own child, Section 8 housing, medicaid, food stamps, and oh yeah, don't forget all those job training programs and rehab programs they take, and repeat, over and over. Rehab known to the Welfree community as "vacas." End Welfree. Stop stealing from the good people and giving to the bad. That's not "compassion." That's punishment for the right living folks. A little hungry is a real good teacher, and it will get you out of bed.