U.S. Endangers Fight Against Mexican Drug Trade With NAFTA Hardball

10/11/2017 Forbes

drug warThe United States and Mexico need to redouble their cooperation against organized crime in order to save lives in both countries, but hardline U.S. proposals now expected in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation could put this vital security cooperation at risk.

In the United States, Mexican-sourced drugs are fueling drug addiction and rising overdose deaths. In Mexico, the estimated $18-30 billion of drug proceeds from U.S. sales are fueling a surge in violence, increased homicides, and serious corruption. The governments of Mexico and the United States agreed this year on a strategy for more effective cooperation against illegal drugs and other cross-border crime. Further success, however, requires increased trust and political will, as well as more effective law enforcement to break up drug production and distribution chains, disrupt financial networks, and achieve more convictions, as well as better U.S. anti-addiction and rehabilitation programs.

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Secretary Ross and the Commerce Department Wrongly Conclude NAFTA Rules are Bad for the U.S.

10/4/2017 Forbes

Flag_of_the_North_American_Free_Trade_Agreement_(standard_version).svgBy Luis de la Calle

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross published an important op-ed (These NAFTA rules are killing our jobs) in the Washington Post this past Friday, September 22nd.  In it, he claims to offer a serious analysis to show that the trade deficit with Mexico and Canada and lower U.S. value-added in Mexican and Canadian U.S. imports are proof the United States is losing under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Secretary Ross aims to end the “loose talk” about industrial integration for automobile production in the region.

The problem with the article and the U.S. Department of Commerce paper it is based on is that they cherry pick statistics out of the March 2017, Trade in Value-Added (TiVA) database by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in an attempt to confirm the Trump’s administration bias that trade deficits are bad and lead to job losses.  This wrongheaded approach (the trade deficit with Mexico does not harm the United States) does a growing disservice to the comprehension of the importance of international trade for the economy and further politicizes the issue. More worryingly, it shows civil service officers can be influenced so that their analysis comports with White House views on trade.

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NAFTA Negotiators Accuse US of Pushing Policies Mexico and Canada Will Never Agree With

10/2/2017 PanamPost

The United States continues to propose controversial ideas during NAFTA renegotiations, which could jeopardize any chance of reaching a final deal within the stipulated time frame, according to officials from both Canada and Mexico.

The US’ proposals for public procurement, textiles and fresh produce, those officials said, are imposing a “red line” with little legitimate chance of resulting in an agreement between the three countries.

According to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the third round of NAFTA renegotiations — which took place in Ottawa — was a scene to numerous negative incidents, especially compared to previous meetings. Officials reportedly expect additional confrontation to take place as a result during the fourth negotiation meeting, set to be held in Washington, D.C. between October 11 and 15.

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How Mexico Deals with Trump

10/9/2017 The New Yorker

Source: The New Yorker

Afew months ago, at Mexico City’s Auditorio Nacional, workers were cleaning up after a triumphant viewing of “L’Elisir d’Amore,” broadcast live from the Metropolitan Opera House. Outside, in the bright sunshine, Reforma Avenue was closed to traffic for a protest. Angry people gathered on the theatre steps, waving Mexican flags and hoisting effigies of Donald Trump, and then began marching toward El Ángel, a century-old monument to Mexican independence. One protester carried a placard that read “Mexico Deserves Respect.” Another held a poster of Trump with a Hitler mustache and the tagline “Twitler.” A local activist known as Juanito carried a large American flag bearing an unflattering image of Trump and the message “Enough! Gringo Racist, Full of Shit Trump, Son of Satan, You’re a Danger to the World.” Juanito said that he was prepared to take up arms against the American incursion, demonstrating his resolve by pointing out the scars of old bullet wounds.

Trump began his assault on Mexico almost as soon as he announced his candidacy for President. In a rambling speech at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015, he blamed Mexico for stealing American jobs, and for allowing its worst elements to cross the border: “They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.” To solve the problem, he pledged, “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border. And I will have Mexico pay for that wall.” These ideas proved popular with Trump supporters, and rants about Mexico were soon a regular feature of his campaign events. As he sharpened his routine, Mexicans became not only rapists and drug dealers but also murderers. Trump promised to overhaul U.S. immigration policy and to deport “bad hombres” by the millions. At rallies, he asked, “Who’s going to pay for the wall?” and the crowds howled back, “Mexico!” If Mexico would not pay, he suggested, he might cancel visas for Mexicans and block migrants living in the U.S. from sending remittances back home.

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US, Mexico expand pact on managing overused Colorado River

09/26/2017 The Washington Post 

downloadDENVER — The United States and Mexico have agreed to renew and expand a far-reaching conservation agreement that governs how they manage the overused Colorado River, which supplies water to millions of people and to farms in both nations, U.S. water district officials said.

The agreement to be signed Wednesday calls for the U.S. to invest $31.5 million in conservation improvements in Mexico’s water infrastructure to reduce losses to leaks and other problems, according to officials of U.S. water districts who have seen summaries of the agreement.

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New Publication | The NAFTA Negotiations: A Mexican Perspective

By Luz Maria de la Mora Sanchez

The launching of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations on August 16, 2017 begs a serious and thorough discussion given what it is at stake for the three countries in terms of trade, investment, economic integration, competitiveness, jobs, shared production, and innovation. While a NAFTA modernization has been long overdue, this renegotiation was motivated by the wrong reasons; i.e. to address the United States’ concern regarding its trade deficit with Mexico and to return lost jobs to the U.S. manufacturing sector.

When the NAFTA negotiations were launched in Washington, DC, United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer’s remarks underscored “the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved” as a result NAFTA.  In sharp contrast, Canada and Mexico framed this process as an opportunity to modernize the Agreement to better respond to the 21st century economy. Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexico’s Secretary of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo, used their opening speeches to reiterate that NAFTA has benefited the three partners and considered it a very favorable pact. In direct contrast with Trump’s and Lighthizer’s statements, Secretary Guajardo called the NAFTA a “strong success for all parties,” while also stressing that Mexico is not the problem but rather “the solution to the region’s competitiveness.”  Given these diametrically opposing views and goals, Mexico and Canada have a very hard act to play in order to come up with an agreement that responds to their own interests while also addressing the United States’ key concerns.

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Survey: Economists see no gain from NAFTA renegotiation

9/24/2017 The Seattle Times

Most business economists expect the Trump administration’s efforts to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement will make no difference to the U.S. economy or cause harm.

The National Association for Business Economics survey of 47 economists found that one-third think the renegotiation will have no impact, while one-fifth think it will harm the economy slightly. Seven percent see its impact as strongly or moderately negative.

One-quarter said the renegotiation will be slightly positive while 9 percent said it would be moderately positive. The survey covered economists who work for large companies, trade associations, consulting firms, and universities.

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