Trump's NAFTA negotiator: 'Time is running very short'


"Our trade agreement isn't flawless - yes - but on balance it has been extremely successful for the three countries, " said Gerónimo Gutiérrez Fernández, Mexico's ambassador to the USA, speaking at the annual Virginia Governor's Conference on Agricultural Trade. He says we've taken advantage of the U.S. He says Canada needs to be brought into line.

As always the possibility remains that the US could decide to withdraw from NAFTA.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Assn. While business experts and American lawmakers speculate that the move was meant mostly to disadvantage China, it has enraged key USA allies like the European Union and Canada (the U.S.'s largest supplier of both materials).

CCA added there has been good exploratory discussion amongst the negotiating teams regarding streamlining regulatory practices to remove cumbersome procedures for cattle or beef crossing the border, but so far, no concrete commitment for change. Meanwhile, NAFTA negotiations also remain an inflection.

The ideal NAFTA reform would be elimination of tariffs - no government involvement in trade at all. "First and foremost, we will discuss the issue with the United States".

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Australia, which sends more than $US400 million of steel and aluminium to the USA each year, is also hoping for an exemption.

Round 8 of talks is expected to be held in Washington in April.

Lighthizer's remarks seemed to be another attempt by the United States to pressure Canada and Mexico into a deal.

For the U.S. petrochemical industry, both countries are major export markets, and their importance will increase as companies start up new plants.

The U.S. shouldn't cling to expensive, outdated ways of producing things. "We're in favor of modernizing NAFTA, but are not in favor of pulling out". "We are prepared to work continuously to achieve a breakthrough...." Russia, meanwhile, would quietly smile at the further erosion of US influence - and in Americans' own backyard, too.

Northam did not directly speak to the threat of aluminum and steel tariffs, but he said Virginia exporters "already stand to lose out" because of the Trump administration's decision previous year to withdraw from a separate trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

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The governor indicated that she spoke with the president, Vice President Mike Pence and administration officials when she attended the winter meeting of the National Governors Association last week in Washington, D.C. She said she hoped to have a follow-up visit with the vice president Tuesday while he is in Council Bluffs to tout the federal tax cuts.

Guajardo said on Tuesday that if the USA government were to push ahead with metals tariffs that included Mexico, the country would be forced to respond with politically targeted tit-for-tat responses.

On Tuesday, the president indicated he would be delicate in imposing tariffs: "We'll do it in a very loving way", he said, standing next to the prime minister of Sweden.

On the other hand, the most powerful pro-trade advocate in the White House is quitting.

"We would prefer a three-way, tripartite agreement", Lighthizer said Monday. Knowing the game could end in higher tariffs for USA farm products, they are engaging with more reliable suppliers.

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Despite worries over impending elections, there was a commitment from all three representatives that NAFTA negotiations would continue. "Hitting China and Canada with the same tariff doesn't penalize China relative to anyone else", says Dan Ikenson of the Cato Institute.