Can Donald Trump promise to tweak NAFTA? Trade professionals say no – National


WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump gave reassuring phrases to Canada this week when he lauded an excellent buying and selling dating and recommended that adjustments to the North American Free Trade Agreement would contain simply minor “tweaking.”

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Invited through The Canadian Press to research the president’s promise, a trio of business professionals agreed: that’s no longer a promise the president could make.

Presidents don’t singlehandedly keep an eye on U.S. business negotiations, they are saying – the method comes to a large number of actors, all of whom will push their very own priorities.

WATCH: How would renegotiating NAFTA impact Canada?

The finish result’s a Pandora’s field: Either Trump helps to keep it closed, tinkering superficially with NAFTA via regulatory adjustments, or he opens it – and all forms of problems get started spilling out.

Here are their perspectives on why Trump’s tweak communicate may just turn out to be empty communicate.

Gary Hufbauer, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary for world business; creator; senior fellow on the Peterson Institute for International Economics:

“It would be very unusual to do the tweaking without close consultation, foremost with the Congress, and secondly with the U.S. business community. That does open up the process. The notion that the administration might come in with just a few of its own (ideas), whatever they cook up with the Commerce Department, and the (White House’s) United States Trade Representative, without these consultations, really flies in the face of reality,” mentioned Hufbauer .

“Some of my colleagues have told me Congress is quite restive over being a full participant in anything to do with trade…. Some people will want more things.”

READ MORE: NAFTA adjustments may just get advantages Canada and US, ambassador says

Hufbauer famous there might be a large call for at the dairy trade

“Probably the administration will go for a very restrictive position on softwood lumber. Some of that amounts to a little more than tweaking. In addition to all those items, there’ll be other stuff coming out of the woodwork. I guess the word ‘tweaking’ implies both ‘small,’ and ‘it’s not going to take long, it’s going to be very quick.’ I think both those things are a misjudgment of the likely terrain,” Hufbauer mentioned.

Peter Clark, business strategist fascinated by Canada-U.S. Free Trade and NAFTA negotiations:

“He really doesn’t have a clue,” mentioned Clark.

“Trade is all about detail – and [Trump] doesn’t strike me as being a details person…. He’s addressed it in a broad-brush approach, (like), ‘We want to make it easier to export.’ He also wants to make it more difficult to import. So I’m not sure the tweaking is necessarily going to help us.”

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“I don’t see the tweaking helping our dairy farmers and poultry farmers. I don’t see the tweaking helping our grape and wine industries. These are standard targets – they’re always after anything we happen to do differently, which has to, of course, be unfair, depriving Americans of their God-given right to dominate our market,” he persevered.

“I can’t anticipate what the problems are going to be, but there’s going to be problems…. That’s a Pandora’s box – once you open it, everything’s open. How can you say, ‘We want to reopen NAFTA for you, you and you – and all you other guys, go play in the traffic?’ You can’t do that.”

Mark Warner, Toronto business legal professional who has labored in different international locations with shoppers together with the Ontario govt:

“It all depends on what he means by ‘tweak,’ and I think the initial Canadian reaction on Monday was a bit too exuberant. I think it was just a placeholder. Canada wants answers faster than he can give,” Warner mentioned.

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“It is not clear to me how you tweak for Canada but make substantive changes for Mexico…. Is that intended to bait Mexico into withdrawing, leaving Canada and the U.S. to tweak by themselves? (Or) give grounds to (Trump) to terminate NAFTA and renegotiate (the older Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement) separately by just updating to NAFTA and TPP perhaps? If tweak means structural changes, then that probably means (Trump) has to go through (the fast-track procedure)… (That) means notifying Congress, consulting with Congress and an up and down vote for Congress, and I think that means opening Pandora’s box.”


Published on: 16 February 2017 | 12:02 pm, as “Can Donald Trump promise to tweak NAFTA? Trade experts say no – National” on GLOBALNEWS CANADA. (Here is a source link for the Article’s Image(s) and Content)

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