February 22, 2018

Prime Minister concludes visit to Washington, DC

13 October 2017, 12:41 | Kara Nash

Trudeau heads to Mexico after blunt talk about alternatives to NAFTA

Trudeau warns Trump over potential fallout from Bombardier spat

Prime Minister Trudeau met with U.S. President Donald Trump and his advisors in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday in an effort to break a tightening deadlock on negotiations aimed at reforming the trilateral NAFTA agreement between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Yet, Prime Minister Trudeau was told at the meeting that the considering scrapping the trade deal and interested in negotiating a new trade agreement with Canada that excludes Mexico. This week the influential US Chamber of Commerce warned it was time to "ring alarm bells" over the NAFTA talks.

During talks at the White House Wednesday, President Trump suggested the possibility of replacing NAFTA with a new U.S.

On Friday, Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown offered his support, saying it was "about time" United States trade negotiators "took the pen away from corporate lobbyists and started writing trade policy that puts American workers first". Trudeau said he believed the Nafta talks could still end in a "win, win, win".

The conversation about possibly dissolving NAFTA has become increasingly frequent over the last month, both by officials from member countries and by prominent figures of the private sector, whose investments often rely on the outcome of renegotiations.

"If we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine", Trump said.

Britain could join a formal trade alliance with the United States, Canada and Mexico if the European Union refuses to clinch a post-Brexit trade deal, the Daily Telegraph newspaper reported on Tuesday. But Mexican leaders have also warned that talks must conclude early next year before their presidential election campaign gets underway.

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However, a study released on Thursday by the Motor Equipment Manufacturers Association, which represents US auto parts makers, showed the higher content requirements would lead to the loss of up to 24,000, as some companies would forgo NAFTA's tariff-free benefits and ship in more components from other countries. "I think it's just a bridge too far", said Wendy Cutler, the Asia Society's Washington policy director and former chief USA negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal canceled by Trump. The US president has made revamping the trade pact with its neighbors and reducing the country's trade deficit a pillar of his nationalist economic agenda. Those "could doom the entire deal", Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's CEO said October 11.

Under current rules, at least 62% of the parts in a auto sold in North America must come from the region to avoid being hit with taxes at the border. USA negotiators have countered with a proposal that would effectively grant the other countries less access, people familiar with the talks say.

The rules of origin demands are among several conditions that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has labelled "poison pill proposals" that threaten to torpedo the talks.

But there is still some uncertainty whether Trump is deploying tough negotiating bluster or is seriously considering scuppering the agreement. "We have to be prepared for the different scenarios that could come out of this negotiation".

On Thursday, the American International Automobile Dealers Association (AIADA) said proposed changes to NAFTA would likely increase the cost of vehicles.

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