Hardball Trade Tactics Will Leave US Workers Battered and Bruised

6/6/2018 The Hill

By Earl Anthony Wayne, Public Policy Fellow, Mexico Institute

A long-time U.S. trade guru joked last week that as a rule of thumb, he favors trying to manage only one trade war at a time, not multiple trade conflicts at once as the U.S. is attempting.

As the danger of costly missteps and negative consequences with international partners becomes more evident, the United States needs a serious debate over the current approach and making course adjustments. The alternative could leave the U.S. trying to recoup after paying the price at home and abroad.

The U.S. has imposed new tariffs on steel and aluminum targeting nations that are long-time allies and friends in Europe and North America for “national security” reasons, rather than focusing on rival and trade bad-boy China, sparking alarms from pundits and experts from across the political spectrum.

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Trump Wants to Divide Nafta Talks Into 2 Separate Deals

06/05/2018 The New York Times 

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration added another complication to already fractious talks with Canada and Mexico on Tuesday, suggesting that President Trump now wants to negotiate separate bilateral deals with those nations rather than continue three-country discussions to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“His preference now, and he asked me to convey this, is to actually negotiate with Mexico and Canada separately,” Larry Kudlow, the White House chief economic adviser, said of the president on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning.

Mr. Kudlow said pursuing separate deals might allow an agreement to be reached “more rapidly,” adding: “I think that’s the key point. You know, Nafta has kind of dragged on.”

The comments echo previous musings by Mr. Trump and are only likely to inflame tensions with Canada and Mexico, which are already reeling from Mr. Trump’s imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs and his suggestion that tariffs on autos might come next. Relations with Canada and Mexico are more strained than at any time during the president’s tenure, and the clock has essentially run out for the administration to secure a Nafta deal this year.

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Japan auto association hopes free trade, low tariffs maintained as NAFTA renegotiated

05/18/2018 Reuters

automobileJapan’s automaking association on Friday said it hoped the country’s export partners would keep tariffs on vehicles and components low and maintain free trade relationships to promote and strengthen transparent trade.

The comments come after the United States, a major market for Japanese cars, imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports and pushes for new terms for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), including boosting requirements for locally produced content of cars made in the three signatory nations where Japanese automakers have factories.

The country is also mulling tougher environmental rules for imported cars to protect U.S. automakers.

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Bank of China plans to go ‘local’ in Mexico

05/17/2018 Reuters

mexico-chinaChina’s fourth-largest bank by assets is pushing into the Mexican market, aiming to meet the needs of large Chinese companies increasingly eager to expand into Mexico, a senior executive said on Thursday.

Diego Folino, one of the executives leading Bank of China’s expansion strategy into Latin America’s No. 2 economy, said that for the first time the lender would provide several loan products, wire transfers and basic treasury services.

Bank of China Mexico received a license from the Mexican banking and securities regulator two years ago, but Folino said it only recently received approval to offer its services and would now seek out the largest Chinese and Mexican companies.

“There are about 70 strong Chinese companies already investing in Mexico and Chinese financial institutions must follow them,” Folino, the deputy chief executive of Bank of China Mexico, told Reuters in an interview.

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Business Hates Mexico’s Presidential Front-Runner. And He Doesn’t Care

05/09/2018 Bloomberg

Source: Eneas De Troya, Flickr

Andrés Manuel López Obrador, sharing a stage with crates of coconuts and limes, looks out upon a crowd of thousands: a sea of sombreros bobbing in the sun. They’re farmers, mostly—or used to be, before the North American Free Trade Agreement upended the old traditions here in the Mexican heartland. Now, many take whatever jobs they can find and lament that so much corn, Mexico’s iconic national crop, is now imported from the U.S.

López Obrador—or AMLO, as he’s widely known—assures the crowd that their dreams of returning to their farms are within reach. After he wins the presidential election on July 1, he says, he’ll provide them with free fertilizer and cheap fuel, and he’ll establish minimum price guarantees for homegrown crops. The fields here in the central Mexican state of Zacatecas will spring back to life, which will provide people with jobs and, in turn, stem the outward flow of migrants to America. But for this chain of prosperity to kick in, there’s one condition: An electoral deathblow must be struck against the ruling political class, a group López Obrador references in terms this rural audience appreciates.

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NAFTA talks resume amid fears of ‘zombie’ deal

05/07/2018 Reuters

naftaWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior Canadian, U.S. and Mexican officials trying to rescue slow-moving talks to update the NAFTA trade pact met on Monday in a new bid to resolve key issues before regional elections complicate the process.

With time fast running out to strike some kind of deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the three member nations are still far apart on major points.

Discussions in Washington will center on one particularly contentious area — the U.S. demand for tougher rules of origin governing what percentage of a car needs to be built in the NAFTA region to avoid tariffs.

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Mexico’s Economy Picked Up Pace in First Quarter

04/30/2018 The Wall Street Journal

digital economyMexican economic activity accelerated in the first quarter, growing at its fastest rate in six quarters as industrial production recovered and services picked up pace.

Gross domestic product, a measure of output in goods and services, expanded 1.1% seasonally adjusted from the fourth quarter of 2017, the National Statistics Institute said Monday.

The increase, which translates into an annualized rate of 4.6%, was the highest since the third quarter of 2016, and above the 0.8% expansion in the previous quarter.

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