Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Mexico Thursday for high-level talks, on the heels of a tense visit to Washington that saw him spar with US President Donald Trump over trade. "So we'll see what happens with Nafta, but I've been opposed to Nafta for a long time, in terms of the fairness of Nafta".
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray warned that an end to NAFTA would mark a breaking point in U.S.
Mexico's ambassador in Washington Geronimo Gutierrez has said a termination clause would erode business confidence in the region, while his Canadian counterpart has said the Trump administration probably wouldn't find much domestic support for the proposal.
Prior to sitting down with Trudeau, Trump said it would be fine if NAFTA was terminated, although members of Congress expressed hope earlier in the day it could be reworked. Over half the products in Mexican supermarkets are USA and Canadian imports, he explains to AS/COA Online Editor-in-Chief Carin Zissis.
The trade negotiations this week in Washington have gotten off to a rocky start, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce warning that the Trump administration might be sabotaging the talks with unrealistic proposals.
The rules of origin demands are among several conditions that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has labeled "poison pill proposals" that threaten to torpedo the talks. Representatives of the auto industry warned some of the US demands could raise prices for vehicles. Scheduled talks in this session have been extended by two days to Tuesday.
Under current rules, at least 62% of the parts in a vehicle sold in North America must come from the region to avoid being hit with taxes at the border.
The hard issue of rules of origin will be addressed mostly at the end of the current talks, according to a schedule obtained by Reuters.
"If the required content to hit the threshold for a NAFTA vehicle is too high, people may say, 'Look, it's just too hard, it's too high, so we'll just ship the vehicles in, '" Magna International Inc. Trudeau said he was still optimistic about modernizing the trade deal and the Canadian Dollar has stabilized over the last few sessions, helped by a weaker greenback.
"U.S. negotiators have made conditions so tough that Mexico and Canada could reject them, which would be the ideal excuse for the US government to announce its departure from NAFTA", Coutino wrote. Higgins' Western New York district, which covers the cities of Buffalo and Niagara Falls, includes four worldwide crossings between the USA and Canada.
The former Conservative leader, who's known as an ardent free trader, says powerful anti-trade forces that predate Trump's presidency are at play in American society and aren't going away anytime soon.