As NAFTA Talks Restart, Canada and Mexico are Unfazed by Trump’s Threats

8/31/2017 Foreign Policy

The second round of talks for renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement is set to start Friday in Mexico. Since the conclusion of the first round, U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to withdraw from the trade agreement. How, then, are U.S. neighbors dealing with the impending round two?

Just fine.

For one thing, while public opinion in the United States toward NAFTA is split, Canadians and Mexicans are in general agreement that the deal is good for their countries.

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[VIDEO] Renegotiating NAFTA Round Two

After what has been described as a tough round one in Washington, the process of renegotiating NAFTA is set to move to Mexico for round two. Beyond the negotiating table, President Trump continues to suggest that he may choose to withdraw from the agreement all together. Mexico Institute Director Duncan Wood summarizes the state of the negotiations and provides analysis on what we can expect next. That’s the focus of this edition of Wilson Center NOW.

Guest

Duncan Wood, Director of the Wilson Center’s Mexico Institute, is a “North American citizen,” lecturing and publishing widely in the United States, Mexico and Canada on intracontinental issues and relations, with a primary focus on U.S.-Mexican ties. A widely-quoted authority on energy policy, international banking regulation and corruption, he works closely with the World Economic Forum and leverages decades of experience at Mexico’s leading universities and newspapers.

Host
John Milewski is the executive producer and managing editor of Wilson Center NOW and also serves as director of Wilson Center ON DEMAND digital programming. Previously he served as host and producer of Dialogue at the Wilson Center and Close Up on C-SPAN. He also teaches a course on politics and media for Penn State’s Washington Program.

Protecting Mexico’s Energy Reforms

8/14/2017 RealClear World

By Duncan Wood

When President Salinas Gortari signed the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement for Mexico in 1992, he provided certainty and stability for investors hoping to benefit from Mexico’s emerging manufacturing base. The trade deal locked in the benefits of domestic economic reforms and liberalization introduced in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The steady flow of foreign investment that followed turned Mexico into a manufacturing powerhouse.

When negotiators from Mexico, Canada, and the United States start talks on Wednesday to renegotiate aspects of the 23-year-old agreement, they too hope to lock in recently won gains in Mexico that are of enormous interest to all parties. One priority must be to defend hard-won reforms in Mexico’s energy sector — reforms meant to change a sector that was closed and monopolistic for 75 years. Since U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, a broad-based movement has emerged that aims to defend two decades of free trade in the region and to insist on the urgency of “doing no harm” during renegotiation. NAFTA’s defenders have managed to influence a change in language: Where commentators once spoke of renegotiating a pact Trump characterized as the worst trade deal signed by the United States, the negotiations are now widely framed as an opportunity to modernize a venerable trade deal so that it more accurately reflects the needs and priorities of the 21st century economy.

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Canada PM Trudeau eyeing Mexico trip in October amid NAFTA talks

08/15/2017 Reuters

trudeauOTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is considering a trip to Mexico in October to meet with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, his office said on Tuesday.

The visit would be Trudeau’s first trip to Mexico since taking office in 2015 and come in the midst of trilateral talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement. Pena Nieto visited Trudeau in Ottawa in June 2016.

Negotiations to modernize NAFTA kick of in Washington on Wednesday. U.S. President Donald Trump has targeted both Mexico and Canada for taking unfair advantages in the trading relationship. Ottawa has suggested it could walk away from talks if the United States pushed to remove a key dispute-settlement mechanism in the trade deal.

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RPT-Tech companies ramp up NAFTA lobbying on eve of trade talks

08/16/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON, Aug 15 (Reuters) – Technology companies, such as Microsoft and Cisco Systems have ramped up lobbying ahead of talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, looking to avoid any future restrictions on cloud storage and to promote an international pact to eliminate technology goods tariffs.

U.S., Mexican and Canadian negotiators are due to start talks on the 23-year old trade pact on Wednesday. Farming and transportation groups have traditionally dominated lobbying on NAFTA, but technology lobbyists are helping lead the recent surge in efforts to influence Washington, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Tech companies and trade organizations disclosed they had 48 arrangements with lobby groups that discussed NAFTA with administration officials or lawmakers in the second quarter, up from 17 groups in the first quarter and one group at the end of 2016, according to the data.

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NAFTA negotiators aim for ‘ambitious’ first round of talks: U.S. official

08/15/2017 Reuters

NAFTA_logoWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States are aiming for an ambitious first round of trade talks, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday, as the countries try to fast-track a deal to modernize the pact by early next year.

The United States Trade Representative official, speaking to reporters on a conference call, said all sides would all submit a substantial number of proposals during the first week of the talks aimed at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in Washington. The talks start on Wednesday.

“We are actually going to be quite ambitious in this first round,” the USTR official said, without elaborating on specifics.

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Learning From The Experience Of NAFTA Labor And Environmental Governance

8/11/2017 Forbes

forbesAs negotiators from the United States, Mexico, and Canada prepare to begin talks on a renegotiated NAFTA agreement, this is an opportune moment to think about how to strengthen trilateral oversight in the important areas of labor and environmental policy. The Trump Administration published its negotiating objectives in July, and they included the aim to strengthen both labor and environmental oversight within NAFTA. Clear lessons can be drawn from the NAFTA experience about what worked and what did not, and how civil society participated and evolved.

NAFTA included two side agreements, one on the environment and one on labor. The purpose was to pressure all three member states to uphold their own laws in these areas. Mexico’s inclusion in NAFTA was the original rationale, but the requirements applied to all three countries. Non-compliance was not to be tolerated.

What happened next is very important. The side agreements created routes for civil society to complain about non-compliance, and therefore contribute to governance. Although many see the side agreements as worthless, they did have a significant impact on Mexican civil society, and to an extent, governance in Mexico too. The way this happened is less obvious and less understood than trade or investment-led change, but it is worth our attention. In fact, the impact of the labor and environmental side agreements differed, because their institutions and procedures differed – and therein lies an important lesson. Let’s look at both in turn.

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