'Export our products, not our jobs,' says Stabenow on NAFTA negotations

17 August, 2017, 14:38 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Borderplex Alliance CEO Jon Barela speaks at a U.S.-Mexico border summit in El Paso on Wednesday

The 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has cost the US hundreds of thousands of jobs, Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said during the opening round of talks.

Although US trade with Mexico shifted from a $1.7 billion surplus in 1993 to a $55.6 billion deficit in 2016, total trade with Canada and Mexico more than tripled during that period, reaching $1.2 trillion by previous year, with millions of US jobs depending on export industries. And while USA consumers and businesses are buying more cheap goods from Mexico, it gives us greater purchasing power to buy more things and reinvest in our own economy, lifting our own standard of living. He also said the United States would insist on strong provisions governing labor and currency practices. "We need to keep pork trade flowing", said Ken Maschhoff, president of the National Pork Producers Council.

After modernizing, the tough work begins.

The Trump administration says it is looking for much tougher rules of origin, including a requirement of "substantial USA content" for automobiles.

Since taking office in January, Trumps's top trade advisor Robert Lighthizer has insisted the president's plan will favor USA workers, but some local labor and political leaders have been critical about the administration's lack of transparency.

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Whatever the outcome, the NAFTA reforms are likely to have a profound long-term impact on Canadian companies and investors, in a wide range of industries, that are involved in cross-border trade and investments, in the United States and Mexico.

On behalf of her country, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said the three countries "have a powerful shared interest in reaching a mutually beneficial agreement".

Canada's goal is "bolstering what works, improving what can be made better" in the accord, which encompasses a quarter of the world's economy and seven percent of the world's population, she said. "Otherwise, it is not a deal". "In 2016, Canada and the United States traded $635.1 billion U.S dollars worth of goods and services".

But the Mexican and Canadian delegations disagree, as well as some economists and trade organizations.

Trade talks might in the past have signalled a dry and dusty item on the news agenda, but the renegotiation of Nafta under President Trump has become a political hot potato. Canada, the USA and Mexico account for a quarter of the world's GDP (Gross Domestic Product) with 7 percent of its population.

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To date, at least 130 agricultural associations and food groups, in addition to AFBF, have shared their support for NAFTA with President Trump.

That makes US rural states key supporters of the pact, making it harder for Trump to follow his declared instinct to rip it up in favor USA blue-collar workers who feel jobs have flooded south. The LCLAA, which is a member of the AFL-CIO, issued a resolution condemning the NAFTA renegotiation and described the renegotiation and Trump's immigration policies as "racist attacks on immigrants".

Trump made criticizing trade agreements a central part of his campaign, and his criticisms of NAFTA were at times grandiose: He called it the "worst deal ever made in the history of the world" and "a one-way highway out of the United States". The test will be whether negotiators can prove that a new NAFTA agreement can alter that course.

Today the signatories of NAFTA will meet in Washington DC to renegotiate the free trade deal. He blamed NAFTA for the US trade deficit with Mexico, particularly in the auto sector; the closure or relocation of domestic businesses; and the loss of at least 700,000 American jobs.

"He is not interested in a mere tweaking a few provisions and a couple of updated chapters". "We feel that Nafta.needs major improvement". "In the case of the US, the Peterson Institute of International Economics estimates that NAFTA has made the U.S.an extra $127 billion dollars each year since the agreement was signed".

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Weighing heavily over the talks is the upcoming 2018 Mexico presidential election.

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