NAFTA Updates from NASCO
Scarbrough is always excited to hear from our friends at NASCO and we are always proud to be a partner. The North American Strategy for Competitiveness, which is the leading organization focused on the competitiveness of the North American supply chain, workforce and energy independence has stayed on top of the NAFTA negotiations since Day One. They just returned from their annual Board of Directors retreat where the North American relationships were the focus of conversation.
We were able to receive a quick bulleted-rundown from their meetings, and I am happy to share. Here’s what they had to say:
A lot happening from all three countries this week.
NAFTA sound bites:
- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is set to meet with the House Ways & Means Committee today (Thursday, June 7) to discuss the state of the NAFTA talks and other trade issues.
- White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on Tuesday (June 5) that President Trump told him to announce a preference for separate trade deals with Canada and Mexico instead of a new NAFTA. Kudlow, appearing on Fox News, also said Trump would not withdraw from NAFTA – “he’s just going to try a different approach.”
- White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Wednesday declined to say whether he thought concluding the NAFTA negotiations this year was still possible. “Well, we’re still talking,” he told reporters at the White House. “Communication lines are open. I don’t want to make a prediction. Ambassador Lighthizer, you know, has the play on that. Everyone’s still talking.”
- According to Kudlow, Trump and Trudeau will hold a bilateral meeting at the G7 meeting in Quebec this week. He declined, however, to speculate on whether an outcome could be expected on NAFTA or other trade issues.
- “It is a way to split your negotiating partners to get maximum advantage,” said Mr. Ujczo, who is based in Columbus, Ohio. “We will reduce competitiveness by increasing compliance costs for companies operating in North America that now would have to meet three sets of rules.”
- Christopher Sands, director of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns Hopkins University, said a divided NAFTA could also achieve Mr. Trump’s goal of getting companies to leave Canada and Mexico and set up in the United States. “My fear is that NAFTA gets split up and the U.S. would be the only country that works in both directions,” he said. Mr. Sands said it is possible Mr. Trump will skip the G7 summit, depriving Canada of an opportunity to “sweet talk” the President out of his trade war.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday pushed back on the Trump administration’s suggestion that the NAFTA could be split into separate bilaterals, saying that Canada would continue to renegotiate trilaterally. “We have on various occasions heard about the president speak about his interest or his musings about bilateral deals instead of the trilateral NAFTA that we have,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa. “Canada’s position is and always has been that the trilateral approach is actually better for Canada, for Mexico and for the United States. We think that demonstrating the strength of NAFTA as a solid community as we take on the world is very much in all of our advantages and we will continue to negotiate that way.”
- Mexico’s chief NAFTA negotiator also pushed back on the idea of separate bilateral negotiations. “North American supply chains were strengthened through #NAFTA precisely because it is a #trilateral agreement,” Ken Smith Ramos tweeted on Wednesday. “Industries in #MX, CAN and the #US face the same trade rules and that creates certainty for their operations and reduces costs #TrilateralNAFTA”
Mexico hits U.S. with $3 billion in tariffs (June 6 – CNN Money)
In retaliation for the Trump administration announcing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Mexico and much of the rest of the world, Mexico Tuesday imposed a series of tariffs against US exports to its market valued at $3 billion. They’ll hike the price of products including pork, apples, potatoes, bourbon as well as different types of cheese.
Senators introduce bill to curb Trump’s tariff authority (June 6 – The Hill)
Senators are moving forward with legislation that would curb President Trump’s authority on tariffs, despite opposition from the White House.
Canada co-ordinating tariff attack on U.S. with EU (June 6 – ipolitics)
The Canadian government is waiting to impose retaliatory tariffs after Washington announced stiff tariffs on steel and aluminum exports because, in part, it wanted to co-ordinate its response with the European Union, the foreign affairs minister said Wednesday evening.
China offered to buy $70 billion in U.S. products to ward off Trump’s tariffs (June 5 – Washington Post)
China offered to purchase nearly $70 billion of U.S. farm, manufacturing and energy products if the Trump administration abandons threatened tariffs, according to people briefed on the latest negotiations with American trade officials.
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