US, Mexico reach trade "understanding", Trump threatens to cut out Canada

29 August, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Frank Williams
  • Ildefonso Guajardo at a news conference in Mexico City

The United States and Mexico have reached a trade agreement, leaving Canada as the odd man out in efforts to revise or replace the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to U.S. President Donald Trump. The U.S. also doesn't want to include a provision from the original NAFTA deal, called Chapter 19, which created an independent review process for resolving disputes when one country accuses another of subsidizing or "dumping" their goods.

27 announced an agreement that he said would replace NAFTA, an nearly 25-year-old deal that allows most goods produced in North America to move duty-free across the continent.

But none of that is happening.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray told a news conference in Washington that if Canada and the United States do not reach an agreement on NAFTA, "we already know that there will still be a deal between Mexico and the United States". "Any new deal must raise wages, ensure workers' rights and freedoms, reduce outsourcing and put the interests of working families first in all three countries.... A lot of people felt we'd never get here".

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico had agreed to eliminate the chapter 19, something that Canada has strongly resisted.

The offhand comments by Trump were made to reporters in the Oval Office as he met with the head of global soccer's governing body, FIFA President Gianni Infantino. NAFTA by any other name is still free trade.

The United States and Mexico have reached a preliminary agreement resolving key bilateral trade issues. But the unions, which represent more than 12 million workers, want to see the full text of any agreement before giving their final approval.

"It's a big day for trade, big day for our country. That's what a negotiation is supposed to be, not just hardliners", Larry Kudlow, director of the president's National Economic Council, said on Fox Business Network. "And this is a tremendous thing".

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Negotiations between the United States and Mexico resolved a major stumbling block on auto manufacturing.

Al Jazeera's John Holman, reporting from Mexico City, said outgoing President Nieto "probably had to make sacrifices" to protect a trade agreement with the U.S., with a possible outcome being the flight of auto manufacturing companies from the country. There was no indication on Monday that Mexico had abandoned that position.

Trump says he will be calling Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

A senior administration official indicated the White House plans to submit a letter to Congress on Friday notifying the legislature of the President's plans to sign a new trade deal, with or without Canada's agreement.

"We hope that Canada will come in".

USA law requires a three-month waiting period after a deal is completed before Congress can ratify it. Mexico will swear in its incoming president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on December 1.

US, Mexican and Canadian stocks opened higher on Monday on optimism about a trade deal.

As the cameras rolled, the United States president pressed a button on his phone and said: "And I believe the President is on the phone".

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