June 5, 2018

Trump Prefers Separate Deals with Canada, Mexico

 |  By: Mike Opperman

President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told “Fox & Friends” that although the president now prefers to negotiate separately with Canada and Mexico over their three-country trade deal, he’s not abandoning the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) altogether. In an Associated Press story, Kudlow says Trump is “just going to try a different approach.”

Trump’s desire for a new approach may further complicate already tense renegotiation talks that have been underway for months. Trump maintains the landmark free-trade deal is a “disaster” that has killed U.S. jobs and hurt manufacturing. Kudlow says Trump and his other economic advisers met several times Monday and that Trump asked Kudlow to convey his new preference.

Still, talking about bilateral agreements with Mexico and Canada is one thing, actually doing it is another.

 “Trade policy observers note that such a strategy would require several actions first, including the U.S. officially exiting NAFTA, something which has not yet happened. And U.S. lawmakers from both political parties would push back against any such development,” says Jim Wiesemeyer, Pro Farmer’s Washington policy analyst. “Others see this as just another Trump negotiating strategy to get Canada and Mexico to agree to his controversial push to rework the NAFTA every five years.”

NAFTA negotiations have drug on for nearly a year now with an ongoing ebb and flow of political rhetoric from all three countries. Most recently, Canada has said to have softened on granting market access, however Mexico and Canada announced potential tariffs on U.S. dairy products as a result of tariffs placed on steel from the EU, Canada and Mexico by President Trump.