Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules

Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules

Chief Canadian NAFTA negotiator not expecting progress on auto content rules

Trump has repeatedly threatened to terminate the agreement if the US does not get what it wants.

When NAFTA took effect January 1, 1994, trade between the United States and Mexico was only $50 billion each way; previous year, USA exports to Mexico were almost quintuple that amount at $231 billion, and they supported 3 million U.S.jobs.

When NAFTA was negotiated in 1994, it lowered trade barriers and allowed more-or-less free-flowing trade across North America's borders.

"We do have an opportunity to be a real powerhouse in the world, and keep our citizens prosperous and happy, and we can't do that simply by playing defence", MacNaughton said following an event in Banff, Alta.

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Dearborn, Dingell said the Trump administration should seek to renew policies that require companies that do business with the US government to buy American parts for their projects.

Mr. Smith indicated that economic conditions for both the USA and Mexico have changed substantially since the implementation of NAFTA, and the while each country is expected to look after its own interests in the modernization process, the renegotiations can and should result in a "win/win" for both countries.

The U.S. government has argued the deal has killed hundreds of thousands of jobs in their country. The non-partisan Congressional Research Service, reviewing dozens of studies conducted over the last twenty years, found that the trade agreement has had little to no effect on net employment in the United States.

Political distractions caused by the USA mid-term elections and the Mexican presidential vote next year could freeze the prolonged North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) talks, said Tomasz Swiecki, a trade expert at the local University of British Columbia (UBC). The U.S. content in Mexican manufactured goods fell by more, to 16 percent from 21 percent. "U.S. corporations, particularly automakers, would be at substantial risk of supply chain disruptions".

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"One of two things is going to happen: A deal that is significantly better for the American worker and the American manufacturing sector and the American economy will be worked out, which means people will move significantly from their current positions - and I don't mean the U.S. Or we will walk away from NAFTA and start all over".

That could drop, the paper acknowledges, with the rapidly increasing computerization of cars and trucks since the electronic components are primarily produced in China, Japan and Germany.

Canada, meanwhile, could revert to the Canada-U.S.

Dionisio Perez Jacome, Mexico's ambassador to Canada, warned Friday of precisely such a scenario if the requirement for US content is increased. "Even more alarming is the fact that the most recent data available on value-added in trade is only through the year 2011", he added. But last year, exports just to the Dominican Republic and Honduras were more than $104 million, up from the less than $40 million shipped to all the DR-CAFTA nations in 2006 - the year before the agreement became effective.

Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union represents Canadian autoworkers, supports hiking the North American content requirement, but warns it can't be done in isolation.

"The declining share of American parts and components in imports from Mexico and Canada is all the more reason for us to take a fresh look at NAFTA", said a statement from Ross.

The rest of the mess includes, in his view, more stringent labour standards that would significantly hike wages for Mexican auto and auto parts workers and an increase in the low USA and Canadian tariffs on imported vehicles outside of NAFTA. Specifically, the president has evinced a desire to prevent "American" jobs from being sent to Mexico, where workers are (typically) willing to accept lower wages.

- With files from Armina Ligaya in Toronto and Ian Bickis in Banff, Alta.

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