NAFTA renegotiations are ‘far from being completed,’ says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross

01/31/2018 CNBC
Image result for wilbur ross
The efforts to renegotiate NAFTA are “far from being completed at this point,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on CNBC Wednesday.

Ross told “Squawk Box” without being specific that some progress has been made on easier provisions, but “very little has been done on the hard issues.”

Without mentioning specific trade free arrangements such as NAFTA or the Trans-Pacific Partnership, President Donald Trump used his State of the Union address Tuesday night to talk about America turning the page “on decades of unfair trade deals that sacrificed our prosperity and shipped away our companies.”

However, Trump has also repeatedly said he would pull out of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico if he thought it would lead to a better deal the United States. The trade pact was negotiated by Republican President George H.W. Bush and implemented by Democratic President Bill Clinton.

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Mexico says open to changes on rules of origin for autos in NAFTA talks

01/30/2018 Reuters


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico said on Tuesday that it was open to changes to rules of origin for automobiles, one of the most contentious issues negotiators face in modernizing the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Under NAFTA, at least 62.5 percent of the net cost of a passenger car or light truck must originate in the United States, Canada or Mexico to avoid tariffs. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration wants the threshold raised to 85 percent and it wants half the content made in the United States.

Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said that while Mexico’s automotive industry, represented by AMIA, has expressed the desire to keep the current 62.5 percent regional requirement for autos, ”I have talked with them. I think we have to be realistic.

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Decisions on trio of trade partners loom large for US in 2018

01/10/2018 The Hill

CSCL_Globe_arriving_at_Felixstowe,_United_Kingdom (1)By Earl Anthony Wayne

The Trump administration has China, Canada and Mexico at the top of the trade agenda for 2018. Decisions are pending about trade sanctions on China and about modernizing or leaving the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

These are America’s top-three trading partners and export markets. Millions of U.S. jobs and many billions of dollars in trade and investment are in the balance, as are key U.S. strategic interests. The costs of missteps can be very high.

The U.S. administration is considering imposing trade penalties on its largest trading partner, China, for intellectual property (IP) theft and forced technology transfers, for underpricing solar panels sold in the U.S. and for subsidizing the cost of steel and aluminum exports to the U.S.

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Mexico to Discuss Security With U.S. in Parallel to Nafta

12/11/2017 Bloomberg

Mexico’s top diplomatic and interior officials will visit Washington this week to discuss security cooperation with their U.S. counterparts at the same time that negotiators work to overhaul Nafta, according to four people familiar with the plans.

The visit by Mexican Foreign Relations Minister Luis Videgaray and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Thursday is a follow-up to meetings in May, according to the people, who asked not to be named before the agenda is made public. It’s aimed at coming up with strategies to combat transnational criminal organizations, the people said. The press office of the Mexican Foreign Ministry and the U.S. State Department declined to immediately comment.

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Mexican ambassador talks NAFTA, Mexico’s image

12/4/2017 El Paso Inc.

On Nov. 16, I spent the better part of the day with Mexican Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez, who visited the El Paso/Juárez/southern New Mexico region.

In the morning, I was part of a small delegation that had breakfast with the ambassador at the Foxconn plant in San Jeronimo, Chihuahua, which is located just across the border from Santa Teresa, New Mexico. After breakfast, we toured the Foxconn facility, which makes Dell computers and HP tablets, followed by an interactive lunch at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas El Paso Branch.

Within the past 25 years, Gutierrez has worked in various high-level positions in the Mexican federal government, including stints in Mexico’s treasury department, Banobras (the Mexican development bank), the interior ministry, and the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs. Most recently, he was the head of the North American Development Bank, which is headquartered in San Antonio.

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Mexico presidency hopeful eyes tax cuts to counter Trump reform

12/5/2017 Reuters

A Mexican presidential hopeful and governor of a wealthy border state said he would cut taxes to compete with lower rates in the United States if President Donald Trump’s fiscal reform passes Congress, hinting at a broader potential response in Mexico.

Jaime Rodriguez, the governor of Nuevo Leon who is seeking to become the first independent to take the presidency, said he would lower “many taxes” if successful.

“We’re going to compete,” he told Reuters on Monday. “If I make it and am able to be president, I would lower taxes,” he added, though he declined to give details.

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In Mexico, they made a new American dream — minus their kids

12/1/2017 The Los Angeles Times 

460xThe home that American dollars built stands out among the dusty adobe farmhouses and crumbling concrete shacks on the edge of this rural Mexican town.

Visitors may wryly refer to it as a “hacienda” because of its grandiose touches — the elaborate wooden entryway, the curved staircase leading up to the front door — but with its red brick, pitched roof and garage sheltering a bright blue SUV, what it really looks like is a little bit of Texas. Athens, Texas. That’s where German and Gloria Almanza spent two decades toiling in factories and building, cleaning and repairing other people’s homes so that one day they could make a place of their own back in Mexico — a place to finish raising their two kids. When in 2012 the couple brought their children back to their hometown of Malinalco, a picturesque pueblo two hours southwest of Mexico City, they were not alone. Census data show more than 1 million Mexicans and their families left the U.S. for Mexico between 2009 and 2014, and fewer made their way north — a major demographic shift that is reshaping the immigration equation and having profound effects on both countries.

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