Monday, 24 July, 2017

Mexico says called Trump's bluff when he eyed NAFTA exit

US will aggressively enforce trade rules – Ross Mexico, Canada weathering same Trump storm on NAFTA, but will solidarity hold?
Craig Ferguson | 13 May, 2017, 09:42

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump says hes ready to start a major renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, now that his trade czar has achieved his long-awaited confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Rather than buy from the USA, they're negotiating to import corn from Brazil - and even more significantly, they're planning to invest in their own farmers to make Mexico self-sufficient again in this important crop.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, in charge of trade ties with the United States, said she did not expect the administration would move immediately on Nafta.

Until NAFTA, Mexico was a corn exporter.

Lighthizer has more congressional contacts and more experience with the fine points of trade law than Navarro or Ross.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the committee overseeing trade policy, took to the floor before the vote to express his support, saying "It is clear that Mr. Lighthizer not only understands how the global trading system works, but also how it sometimes breaks down...."

"It is the US government that is affecting the dollar-peso exchange rate", Ortiz said. Lighthizer noted that "conservative statesmen from Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan sometimes supported protectionism". -China Economic and Security Review Commission, he lambasted USA trade officials as too passive in the face of China's economic rise.

A 1995 amendment to the 1974 Trade Act stipulates a nominee who "directly represented, aided, or advised a foreign entity" can not serve as the U.S. Trade Representative, unless granted a waiver from Congress. But some farm groups are anxious about how withdrawing from an Asia-Pacific trade deal and reworking other trade pacts could hurt sales of USA -produced beef, poultry and grains.

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"If you look at the trade deficit as an indicator - not the only indicator but an indicator - China is a good part of our problem", Lighthizer said during the hearing in mid-March. "Our trade deficit with China has exploded, millions of USA manufacturing jobs have been lost".

"So far, this administration's trade strategy amounts to a muddle of 140-character tweets, mixed messages and overhyped announcements that are backed by little substance", Wyden said.

We also encourage Ambassador Lighthizer to work with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin to bring the U.S. -EU Covered Agreement on insurance prudential matters into force as quickly as possible.

Philip K Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers' Association (SMA) said that Lighthizer's appointment was extremely pleasing.

Guajardo said the trip to China would be in September but did not provide details.

Under Lighthizer, Wolff says, "trade policy is going to get a lot more muscular".

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