Business groups raise alarms about Trump's direction on trade

13 October, 2017, 00:42 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • USA Trump and Trudeau at the White House | NAFTA

I love Mexico, said Trudeau, whose arrival in Mexico City followed a day of meetings in Washington, D.C., focused on rescuing the ailing North American Free Trade Agreement.

Victor Herrera, who's spent 35 years covering Latin American financial markets, warns that NAFTA's demise would have major effects.

"The companies represented at the Business Roundtable are very concerned with reports that the Trump administration will weaken NAFTA with drastic changes that would disrupt supply chains that have greatly benefited US businesses, workers and consumers over the last two decades", Josh Bolten, BRT's president and CEO of the group, wrote in a blog post. "We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need", he said.

Ottawa was set to purchase 18 new Super Hornets fighter jets from Boeing until the American aerospace firm successfully petitioned the Trump administration to impose anti-dumping penalties on its Canadian rival Bombardier over planes sold in the U.S. market.

"Growth could be 1 percent higher if the country had better accountability and more transparency".

"It's a source of total uncertainty", said one of the NAFTA government officials familiar with details of the negotiations. "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".

Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico's president, has also called for the modernization of the 23-year-old deal.

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He says he is advising companies to start planning for the possibility of a world without NAFTA.

Further, "attempts by Boeing to put tens of thousands of aerospace workers out of work across Canada is not something we look on positively".

Canada is the number one export destination for most American states, and cross-border trade and investment support almost nine million jobs in the United States. But some made-in-America hawks have pushed the Trump administration to advocate for an increase in the requirement to as much as 90 percent of autos to be made with parts that originated in the three countries in order to receive the exemption, or boost the percentage that has to come directly from the U.S.

As the trade talks began Wednesday, Trump, seated in the Oval Office beside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada, said it was "possible" that the United States would drop out of NAFTA. But Mexican leaders have also warned that talks must conclude early next year before their presidential election campaign gets underway.

A new study has warned that the U.S. auto-parts industry could lose up to 50,000 jobs if the trade pact is terminated, and companies must pay higher tariffs to ship products to Mexico and Canada. Those "could doom the entire deal", Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's CEO said October 11. "But it is our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality, and that is what we are doing".

On Thursday, the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) said proposed changes to NAFTA would likely increase the cost of vehicles.


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