THEIRS: Buck Trump on NAFTA and tariffs

Violet Powell
February 4, 2017

In light of this possibility, he says the North American produce industry needs to come together to try and take positives from any potential renegotiation to address a range of issues including anti-dumping measures, labor and harmonized maximum residue limits (MRLs).

The U.S. International Trade Commission predicted TTP would have meant a net increase of 128,000 full-time in 15 years.

"All of the statutory guidelines we're adhering to I would like to speed it up if possible", Trump said after a February 2 meeting with top lawmakers responsible for overseeing trade policy, including Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

And he's fair. And he's fair to other countries. But this largely reflects improved productivity and technological change - not competition from imports. If the USA breaks them, other members might try the same thing in retaliation. The objective of this modernizing process is to better mirror other ambitious trade deals that the European Union and Mexico have negotiated lately.

After Trump formally renounced the pending 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership deal, Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne said Canada would assess its options. Canada also lacks a sufficiently diversified economy, is overly reliant on trade with the US, is a near-wasteland in R&D spending and has to stand up to a much larger neighbour.

"I think they want to retire the name NAFTA, say they got rid of it, then put it into the history books", said Hufbauer.

Scoular has been in business in Nebraska for more than 100 years but made significant export gains in Mexico since NAFTA was signed in 1994, he said. In the USA today, some on the left are just as keen as Trump to blame Mexico for the entire decline in manufacturing employment over the past three decades.

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Trump blames NAFTA for the loss of millions of USA manufacturing jobs to Mexico.

Trump also has threatened to impose a 20% "border tax" on products exported to the US from Mexico.

Some U.S. producers of corn, soybean meal and distillers dried grains (DDGs), an ethanol byproduct, are trying to accelerate sales to Mexico because they are uncertain about the risk for new tariffs to disrupt trade, said Rafe Garcia, general manager for U.S. operations at shipper Primos & Cousins USA.

Ample, cheap supplies of US beef may dominate global markets this year and the country could be a net-beef exporter by 2018, market analyst Mike Murphy of CattleFax said at the Nashville conference.

According to the White House website, Trump will withdraw from NAFTA if the US doesn't get a better deal.

"I am convinced that the USA never had a better ally than a united Europe". His rhetoric against climate change science will also likely find its way into the new NAFTA. "If you reopen it it could be worse or better", Green said.

Neal has offered support for overhauling the country's trade policies, saying in an early January statement that they "are in need of reform, with a refocus on the American worker".

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