Category Archives: Trade

Trump tells Canada, Mexico that Nafta can stay — for now

Washington must give Canada and Mexico six months’ notice before exiting the trade agreement, which came into force in 1994.
Washington must give Canada and Mexico six months’ notice before exiting the trade agreement, which came into force in 1994.

By Mark Landler and Binyamin Applebaum / New York Times

President Trump told the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Wednesday that he would not immediately move to terminate the North American Free Trade Agreement, only hours after an administration official said he was likely to sign an order that would begin the process of pulling the United States out of the deal.

In what the White House described as “pleasant and productive” evening phone calls with President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada,Trump said he would quickly start the process of renegotiating Nafta — not abandon it, as he said he would do during the 2016 presidential campaign if he could not rework the deal to his satisfaction.

“It is my privilege to bring NAFTA up-to-date through renegotiation,” Trump said in a statement issued by the White House at 10:33 p.m. “I believe that the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”

The announcement appeared to be an example of Trump’s deal-making in real time. It followed a day in which officials signaled that he was laying the groundwork to pull out of Nafta — a move intended to increase pressure on Congress to authorize new negotiations, and on Canada and Mexico to accede to American demands.

It was not clear whether the president would still sign an executive action to authorize renegotiation of Nafta, which he once called the worst trade deal ever signed by the United States.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/us/politics/nafta-executive-order-trump.html?_r=0

U.S. Commerce secretary says China dumping in Mexico

CNBC – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Thursday that Chinese goods dumped in Mexico are finding their way to the United States. “Mexico’s trade deficit with China is approximately equal to their trade surplus to us. It’s not an accident,” he said.

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/04/27/it-appears-canada-and-mexico-are-ready-to-start-renegotiating-nafta-says-commerce-secretary-wilbur-ross.html

WTO says Mexico can seek millions in tuna dispute

NPR – Mexico has long argued that U.S. labeling rules for dolphin-safe tuna unfairly restrict its access to the U.S. market. And in a decision Tuesday, the World Trade Organization agreed, saying Mexico may seek $163 million annually from the U.S. in retaliatory measures.

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/04/26/525701964/wto-says-mexico-can-seek-millions-from-u-s-in-dolphin-safe-tuna-dispute

U.S. $1.2 billion in sales of milk to Mexico at risk

Bloomberg – Even as the Trump administration jousts with Canada over its latest trade dispute, it might want to keep a closer eye on Mexico, America’s No. 1 one dairy importer. Its southern neighbor, which figures prominently in the U.S. government’s crime and immigration rhetoric, spent almost twice as much money as Canada did on U.S. dairy in 2016. That’s $1.2 billion.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-26/america-s-1-2-billion-mexico-milk-trade-is-now-at-risk

U.S. dairy farmers worry about trade to Mexico

AP – U.S dairy farmers already struggling with low milk prices worry President Donald Trump’s talk of renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement could harm trade to Mexico, its biggest export market.

About 15 percent of dairy production in the United States is exported with one-third valued at $1.2 billion going to Mexico in the form of milk powder, cheese and whey protein.

http://www.reformer.com/stories/dairy-farmers-worry-about-trade-to-mexico,504673

Mexico sees swift Nafta rewrite as Trump eases rhetoric

Bloomberg – Mexico’s top trade negotiator said he was heartened by a retreat from more protectionist rhetoric in the U.S. and that talks to redo the North American Free Trade Agreement may conclude as soon as January. Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the January date would depend on the administration of President Donald Trump notifying Congress in time for negotiations to begin by the end of July.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-07/mexico-says-quick-nafta-rewrite-possible-as-trump-eases-rhetoric

Foreign minister says Mexico is willing to walk away from Nafta talks

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says Mexico is willing to walk away from Nafta talks.
Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray says Mexico is willing to walk away from Nafta talks.

By Andrew V. Pestano / UPI

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said that if North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations don’t benefit all parties involved, the country is willing to “step away” from it.

In an interview with Bloomberg, he said pulling out of NAFTA would be a last resort.

“If what is on the table is something that is not good for Mexico, Mexico will step away from NAFTA,” Videgaray said.

“Both parties have leverage with each other. The questions is: Can you pull your leverage without hurting yourself? Probably not. We’re not approaching this in that sense. It should be a constructive process,” he added.

Videgaray said Mexico’s relationship with the United States goes beyond trade; it already affects the politics of Mexico ahead of a presidential election in which NAFTA could be a wedge issue.

Mexico will hold presidential elections in 2018. During an interview with Bloomberg, Videgaray said he anticipates negotiations between Mexico, Canada and the United States over NAFTA could begin in the summer.

When asked if negotiations could begin later and spill over into 2018, during Mexico’s presidential cycle, and make relations with the United States and trade a key issue, Videgaray said those issues are the reasons the Mexican and U.S. governments must work constructively.

“That’s something that goes beyond trade, is the way that Mexico feels about the U.S., and that’s why I think it’s so important to work constructively, in good faith, work closely toward getting a good understand and a good deal for both sides,” he said.

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2017/03/24/Foreign-minister-Mexico-willing-to-step-away-from-NAFTA/1981490352949/

The food and farm fallout from a possible Trump trade war with Mexico

A variety of Mexican food products ready for export to the U.S.
A variety of Mexican food products ready for export to the U.S.

By Christina Cooke / Civil Eats

The menu at Centro, a popular Mexican restaurant in downtown Raleigh, N.C., relies on avocados, lemons, limes, and cheeses like queso fresco and cotija imported from Mexico. Since election day, Centro owner and chef Angela Salamanca, like many restaurateurs across the country, has grown increasingly nervous as she’s watched the Trump administration pursue a hostile stance toward Mexico on issues related to trade.

“… If there’s a tax imposed on Mexican products, we’ll be in serious trouble, and not just for our food, for our Mezcal, too. We would have to reconfigure our business. What would our offering be if we couldn’t have access to the necessities of Mexican cuisine?” Salamanca said.

Behind Canada, Mexico is the largest supplier of agricultural goods to the United States, selling $21 billion worth of food to Americans in 2015, including $4.8 billion in fresh vegetables, $4.3 billion in other fresh fruit, $2.7 billion in wine and beer, and $1.4 billion in processed fruit and vegetables.

Because U.S. agriculture is so intertwined with the Mexican economy, the U.S. has a lot to lose in a trade war. As do American eaters: A full 93 percent of the Hass avocadoes in the U.S. come from Mexico, as well as 71 percent of the tomatoes and 15 percent of the sugar. Additionally, the U.S. imports 79 percent of its neighbor’s exported tequila.

Nevertheless, the Trump administration is taking an aggressive stance toward its southern neighbor.

Days after his inauguration, the Trump team floated the idea of a 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico as a way to pay for the wall. House Republicans have proposed a different idea, a “border-adjustment” tax on imports.

The president has also voiced his intention to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta). If he can’t renegotiate the agreement to get a “better deal” for the American worker, the president has threatened to withdraw completely.

Ben Lilliston, the director of corporate strategies and climate change with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, points out that the administration, which still does not have a Department of Agriculture head in place, is not paying much attention to the needs of farmers as it thinks about trade policy.

“When you go after manufacturing, agriculture and food get hit in the crossfire of that trade fight,” Lilliston said. And, he adds, “Agriculture is probably the most sensitive topic in any trade negotiation, because it’s about food security.”

http://civileats.com/2017/03/21/the-food-and-farm-fallout-from-a-trade-war-with-mexico/

Mexico threatens to ditch U.S. corn imports

ENCA – Mexico has identified a potential weapon in its trade wrangle with US President Donald Trump: lucrative yellow cobs of American corn. The Latin American nation imports billions of dollars’ worth of the yellow grain from the United States to feed its livestock. But with Trump pushing to shake up the countries’ trade ties, Mexico is now threatening to buy from elsewhere.

https://www.enca.com/money/mexico-threatens-to-ditch-us-corn-imports

Mexico threatens to ditch U.S. corn imports

ENCA – Mexico has identified a potential weapon in its trade wrangle with US President Donald Trump: lucrative yellow cobs of American corn. The Latin American nation imports billions of dollars’ worth of the yellow grain from the United States to feed its livestock. But with Trump pushing to shake up the countries’ trade ties, Mexico is now threatening to buy from elsewhere.

https://www.enca.com/money/mexico-threatens-to-ditch-us-corn-imports

Jaime Serra on why he doesn’t take Trump seriously

Marketplace – When the United States, Mexico, and Canada launched the negotiations for NAFTA, each nation sent a delegate to work out the details. Mexico sent Dr. Jaime Serra, the Minister of Trade and Industry there at the time. He joined Carla Hills from the United States and Michael Wilson from Canada. The trio worked together over several months to put together the deal. Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal talked to Serra about his experience and what he sees for the future of NAFTA in the Trump administration. An edited transcript of the conversation follows.

https://www.marketplace.org/2017/03/20/economy/no-love-or-hate-for-trump-nafta-architect-says