Lighthizer launches his USMCA charm offensive

3/13/2019 – Politico

Robert_Lighthizer_-_Regional_Media_Day.pngBy Megan Cassella

Lighthizer is at the Capitol this morning at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s invitation, talking the merits of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement with a Democratic caucus that is increasingly skeptical the NAFTA replacement goes far enough.

He knows it won’t be easy, but he also knows that with a Democratic majority in the House, it will be crucial to win the support of at least a broad swath of the party’s members if he wants to deliver a win on the deal for President Donald Trump this year.

“Frankly, I think Mr. Lighthizer is perceived as a professional, so I think he comes with a more positive attitude than some others,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “But I also think there’s deep disagreement, perhaps, with the policies he may be talking about.”

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Mexico won’t ratify new NAFTA if U.S. keeps tariffs on steel and aluminum

3/4/2019 – Financial Post

01-03-2019-FOTO-05-CONFERENCIA-DE-PRENSA-MATUTINA-1024x639.jpgOTTAWA — Mexico’s Congress will be asked to approve a major labour-reform bill this spring as a necessary step to ratifying the new North American free-trade pact later this autumn, say Mexican officials.

But unless the Trump administration lifts the punishing tariffs it has imposed on Mexican steel and aluminum imports — duties it also imposed on Canada — Mexico is prepared to keep the status quo with the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

The push to improve workers’ rights in Mexico was a key priority for Canada and the United States during the rocky NAFTA renegotiation because they wanted to level the playing field between their workers and lower-paid Mexican workers, especially in the auto sector.

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USMCA will help us make the most of our energy resources

2/28/2019 – The Hill

© Getty Images

By Benjamin Zyche

Natural resources are an important component of national wealth, and the efficient allocation and use of those resources is an economic process yielding enormous benefits for ordinary people.

Also axiomatic is the reality that international trade — the movement of resources, intermediate inputs and goods and services across international boundaries in response to market signals — improves aggregate economic productivity and thus facilitates an increase in efficient resource use.

Energy resources are a central component of the natural resource base, and that is why it is essential that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) be finalized and ratified.

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Mexico seeks to put to rest labor concerns over new trade deal

2/27/2019 – The Hill

© Getty Images

Mexico’s labor reforms will put to rest any concerns that American legislators may have over ratifying the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the country’s top diplomat for North America told The Hill Tuesday.

Jesus Seade, an undersecretary of foreign relations, said Mexico will, for the first time in a century, actually follow its progressive labor ideals.

“We have a century of having the most advanced labor legislation in the world, the Constitution of 1917, number one in the world, but it turned out to be bogus,” Seade said.

Mexico’s labor practices are likely to come into question once Congress sets to the task of ratifying the USMCA, which President Trump hopes to use to replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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Mexico Posts Record-High Trade Surplus Even After Nafta Redo

1/28/2019 – Bloomberg

cargo-cargo-containers-containers-906982.jpgMexico posted its highest trade surplus on record in December despite efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump to reduce the nation’s shipments to his country by redoing the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Mexico, which sends the vast majority of its exports to the U.S., saw its surplus soar to $1.8 billion, the most for any month since data has been collected in 1999. Automotive exports rose 7.4 percent from a year earlier to $11.5 billion dollars, while oil-product imports fell 15.5 percent to $1.38 billion.

After more than a year of negotiations, Mexico, the U.S. and Canada signed their new trade deal in November known as USMCA. Trump had threatened to cancel Nafta if Mexico and Canada couldn’t reach a deal that he said would bring the countries closer to balanced trade. The legislative bodies of all three countries still need to ratify the new agreement.

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The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will provide a boost to the global digital economy

1/18/2019 – The Hill

action-blur-close-up-735911.jpgBY ANNETTE CLAYTON

Amid the U.S. government’s largest partial shutdown, issues like border protection have taken center stage. However, our global trade policy remains a critical, yet underdiscussed agenda item that impacts our jobs and economy at large. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement needs to remain top of mind as an enabler of much needed stability and confidence to corporations and supply chains throughout a region that enjoys $1.2 trillion in trade impacting half a billion consumers.  When NAFTA was originally conceived, our regional economy was not based on continuous access to data, life enhancing digital services, and connected “smart” devices.  The World Wide Web was in its infancy and what is known today as “IoT”, or the Internet of Things, was something reserved for Sci-Fi novels.

Today, however, digital products and services help ensure a more energy efficient and resilient grid, allow for improved agriculture production, and facilitate data driven health care services and improved patient outcomes.  According to the World Trade Organization, digital trade accounted for $27.7 trillion in 2016, up 46 percent from 2012.  It is imperative that our national and international agreements reflect this new digital complexity.  At Schneider Electric, we support the ratification of the USMCA because it provides a regional and international framework for the facilitation of successful digital trade.

The digital trade chapter, which did not exist under NAFTA, serves as a key new strength of the USMCA.  It balances national interests with regional economic progress while rejecting digital protectionist policies like data localization that do nothing to enhance the security and privacy of data and only hurt consumers.

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Trump’s new NAFTA has hard fight in Congress while steel tariffs remain

12/06/2018 – Politico

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP Photo

By Sabrina Rodriguez

President Donald Trump just celebrated the signing of a new North American trade pact with Canada and Mexico, but he faces a huge roadblock in Congressover U.S. tariffs that are still in place on steel and aluminum imports from the two U.S. neighbors.

The two nations are still working to negotiate a deal with the Trump administration so that they can be exempt from the duties. In the meantime, American industries will continue to be hurt by Mexico and Canada’s retaliatory duties on more than $15 billion worth of U.S. goods.

“If you’re trying to whip votes, you’d take advantage of the opportunity to lift that instead of leaving an irritant on the table,” a former U.S. Trade Representative official told POLITICO. “It’s going to make [administration officials’] lives harder to get Congress on board as constituents are complaining a lot” about the harm of the ongoing tariffs.

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