Trump’s Protectionism Has Mexico Looking South to Latin America for Trade

03/19/2018 World Politics Review

belgium-antwerp-shipping-container-163726.jpegEarlier this month, the United States, Canada and Mexico concluded the seventh round of talks to amend the North American Free Trade Agreement, once again failing to agree on terms to update the 24-year-old pact that U.S. President Donald Trump promised to renegotiate. Trump’s threats to pull the U.S. out of NAFTA if he doesn’t get what he wants, on top of his other protectionist trade policies, have pushed Mexico to diversify its trade relationships, including with its neighbors in Latin America. In an email interview, Duncan Wood, the director of the Mexico Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, discusses the costs of Mexico moving away from the U.S. economically and what this shift could mean for Mexico and the region.

WPR: How are trade relations between Mexico and Latin America changing as a result of Trump’s economic policies, especially in light of the threat to the future of NAFTA?

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Trump ‘enthusiastic’ about reaching NAFTA deal, says Canada’s PM

03/19/2018 Reuters

NAFTA_logoU.S. President Donald Trump appears to be “enthusiastic” about coming to an agreement on NAFTA, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday amid signs the pace of talks is accelerating.

Mexican and U.S. officials earlier this month pushed to speed up the process to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, though Trump has repeatedly threatened to terminate the $1.2 trillion trade pact unless Canada and Mexico agree to far-reaching U.S. demands for changes.

Trump has also ratcheted up tensions by tying the suspension of new U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs for Canada and Mexico to a successful NAFTA renegotiation. Canada and Mexico say they view the two issues as separate.

Mexican minister ramps up pressure for speedy NAFTA deal

03/15/2018 Reuters

fonsoMexico’s economy minister on Thursday urged officials to push for a speedy renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), saying his country and Canada must be ready to go it alone if the United States pulls out.

Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said if no deal to rework NAFTA could be struck by April 30, then the new political complexion of the region would cast doubt on how incoming lawmakers would view it in Mexico and the United States.

“The whole nature of the agreement would change,” Guajardo said at the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Sao Paulo. “You either get it done by the end of April or then it doesn’t matter: you can go until the end of the year.”

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Trudeau Offers to Pick Up Pace on Nafta Ahead of Mexico Election

03/15/2018 Bloomberg Quint

NAFTA_logoCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s willing to accelerate Nafta talks to get ahead of U.S. and Mexico election pressures if needed, striking an upbeat tone on the fate of the trade pact.


Trudeau, speaking in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s Michael McKee, said he was “very optimistic we’re going to be able to get to a win-win-win” deal on Nafta, while downplaying the impact of talks on business investment.

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Q&A: Texas border towns hope NAFTA can be saved, revamped

03/14/2018 The Washington Post

naftaQ: How does NAFTA affect your district?

A: I represent 29 counties from San Antonio to El Paso: two time zones, 820 miles of the border with Mexico. It takes 10 hours to drive across my district at 80 miles an hour. It’s the size of Georgia. Border trade is important. NAFTA is important. You have manufacturing on both sides of the border. You have people who live on the U.S. side and work in Mexico. The amount of trade that traverses the land ports in my district is significant, and that has an impact on the local economy. Texas’ No. 1 trading partner is Mexico. So those relationships are important.

Q: Do people in your district want to keep NAFTA?

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After Defeating Cohn, Trump’s Trade Warrior Is on the Rise Again

03/08/2018 Bloomberg

digital economyPresident Donald Trump’s nationalist trade adviser Peter Navarro has staged a startling comeback.

Last year he nearly disappeared from view when his small operation was subsumed under the White House’s National Economic Council, which was headed by his rival, Gary Cohn, the free-trader who was president of Goldman Sachs. Now, Cohn’s on his way out while the steel and aluminum tariffs that Navarro advocates are on the verge of becoming national policy.
And he might even take over Cohn’s job. It “absolutely” could happen, said Harry Kazianis, a friend of Navarro who is director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest. “Trump’s going to look to Peter and say, ‘I know this guy. I can trust him.’”

Trump Authorizes Tariffs in Defiance of Allies at Home and Abroad

03/08/2018 The New York Times

naftaPresident Trump defied opposition from his own party and protests from overseas on Thursday as he signed an order imposing stiff and sweeping new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. But he sought to soften the impact on America’s closest allies with a more flexible plan than originally envisioned.

After a week of furious lobbying and a burst of last-minute internal debates and confusion, Mr. Trump agreed to exempt, for now, Canada and Mexico and held out the possibility of later excluding allies such as Australia. But the order, which would go into effect in 15 days, could hit South Korea, China, Japan, Germany, Turkey and Brazil and foreign leaders warned of a trade war that could escalate to other industries and be aimed at American goods.

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