Tag Archives: NAFTA

U.S. NAFTA GOALS

A CONJECTURE

“We want to claim or reclaim some manufacturing employment that has settled itself in Mexico.”

John Magnus
June 23, 2017

CONTEXT

Like our last entry,  today’s is from the preliminary comments made by TradeWins president, John Magnus, acting as a panel moderator at GBD’s June 23 event. Earlier we shared with you his thumbnail estimation of the U.S. trade posture towards the European Union. He offered similar comments on America’s apparent goals for a revised NAFTA. The first round of NAFTA renegotiation got under way in Washington yesterday [June 16], beginning with a fairly challenging opening statement from the U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer. We shall turn to that in a moment.

First, though, this is as good a time as any to review the assessment that John Magnus offered back in June. “Okay, what about NAFT?,” he asked. These points were his answer:

Content, Rules of Origin. “We apparently would like to wring out non-North American content as fully as possible from the goods that have NAFTA eligibility.”

Jobs. “We want to claim or reclaim some manufacturing employment that has settled itself in Mexico.”

Trade Deficits. “And we would like to have a smaller, bilateral merchandize trade deficit with Mexico.”

Dairy. “We want to extract concession from Canada on some offensive issues, most notably dairy trade. I’ll let you decide what the word offensive modifies in all of that. It could be our behavior in relation to dairy trade.”

Investment and Trade Remedies. “We want to overhaul some of the NAFTA’s institutional provisions and dispute resolution provisions and most notably the ones that sit in chapters 19 and 11”.

Government Procurement. “We want to really have a new or continue our new mania for Buy American, meaning that we want to, apparently, refrain from deepening the NAFTA in regard to government procurement. And that matters because our NAFTA partners have some interesting requests and proposals in that category.”

The Cases. “And we seem to want to continue to treat even the highest profile trade remedy proceedings – examples: softwood lumber for Canada, sugar for Mexico – as basically matters of pure law enforcement as opposed to some part of our trade policy that we would be prepared to bargain over.”

COMMENT

Doubtless you have already read or read about Ambassador Lighthizer’s opening statement yesterday. Certainly, it was important, but its importance is bound to fade somewhat as the negotiations — and all that is said and written about them — move on to specific issues. But while it is still fresh, here are a few thoughts on the statement and on the negotiations now in their second day.

First, of course it was a tough statement. It had to be. It was the United States that called for these negotiations, and in a sense that was a fallback from President Trump’s threat to withdraw from NAFTA, to tear it up. And the essential toughness of the statement was in this paragraph:

“The views of the President about NAFTA, which I completely share, are well known. I want to be clear that he is not interested in a mere tweaking of a few provisions and an a couple of updated chapters. We feel that NAFTA has fundamentally failed many, many Americans and needs major improvement.”

That was near the end of his statement. The beginning was somewhat different. There he talked about the many Americans who have benefited from NAFTA. “For many of our farmers and ranchers,” he said, “Canada and Mexico are their largest export markets.” And, he added, “Many are particularly vulnerable today because of low commodity prices.”

***

In short, at least as we read it, it was a tough speech with a major concession: America too needs NAFTA. Yes, there is some leverage in the belief if not the fact that the other two, Canada and Mexico, need NAFTA more. But America needs it. Think of NAFTA as a leaky lifeboat in an unforgiving sea. It’s three occupants — Canada, Mexico, and the United States — may have, will have, trouble agreeing on the best way to patch it. But agree they must. Scuttling it is unthinkable (or should be).

Much as we would like to end on that rhetorical flourish, it doesn’t quite capture the larger point. NAFTA may have been a mistake. A better set of policies set in motion in the 1990s might have preserved more U.S. manufacturing jobs and led to a stronger U.S. industrial base. The challenge for today’s NAFTA negotiators, however, isn’t to rewrite the 1990s. That can’t be done. Their challenge it is to improve a system that is now deeply embedded in the economies of all three countries and to do so without disrupting the lives and livelihoods of those who have successfully adapted to it.

SOURCES & LINKS

An Educated Guess is a link to the YouTube video of the Diplomatic Panel at the GBD EU Outreach event on June. This was the source of today’s featured quote.

Opening Statement takes you to Ambassador Lighthizer opening statement at the start of the first round of negotiations toward and an updated and revised NAFTA.

Objectives is a link the U.S. negotiating objectives for the new NAFTA negotiations, which USTR published on July 17, 2017.

About Dairy is the TTALK Quote for June 14, 2017, which focuses on the issue dairy in U.S.-Canada trade, beginning with comments from Shawna Morris of the U.S. Dairy Export Council.

Originally published on Augusut 17 as TTALK Quote No. 51 of 2017.

© 2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.

 

AN UNQUIET AUGUST

DOG DAYS?
by Joanne Thornton

As we approach what traditionally has been a month of recess in Washington, the policy agenda remains as hot as the weather. Unleashed by the Trump administration like a pack of greyhounds in the months following the president’s inauguration, several trade initiatives are now approaching decision points.

Section 232. An especially prominent one — the Section 232 investigation into whether steel imports are harming US national security — appears to have slowed its pace. Perhaps it will be subsumed within the exercise resulting from the president’s most recent executive order, directing the Defense Department to lead a nine-month study of the US defense industrial base. The same may be true of the Section 232 aluminum investigation.  And,

Trade Deficit. Even so, there are plenty of other impending reports and/or decisions that will keep trade mavens busy this summer. Two are overdue, and could pop up any day: an “Omnibus Report on Significant Trade Deficits,” now a month late.

Pipeline Steel. The other overdue report is a Commerce Department plan — technically due last Sunday — for use of American steel in pipelines.

Other upcoming items include:

Enforcement Priorities. This is a report to Congress by USTR on trade enforcement priorities, due by July 31 under Section 601 of the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 (PL 114-125). Essentially the latest iteration of the 1974 Trade Act’s “Super 301” instrument, the provision requires USTR to focus on “those acts, policies, and practices the elimination of which is likely to have the most significant potential to increase United States economic growth.”

China – The NME Issue. The Department of Commerce is reviewing its policies to determine whether China should continue to be treated as a “non-market economy” (NME) under US antidumping and countervailing duty laws. A finding is expected prior to mid-August, and it is widely anticipated that the Department will reaffirm current practice. Even if not surprising, such a decision would accentuate a deep rift with China. Beijing has challenged the use of NME methodology by the European Union and the United States in what USTR Robert Lighthizer has termed “the most serious litigation matter we have at the WTO right now.” Ambassador Lighthizer made that comment at a Senate Finance Committee hearing on June 21, and he asserted further that “a bad decision with respect to NME status for China . . . would be cataclysmic for the WTO. “

NAFTA Modernization. Mid-August also will see the formal initiation of NAFTA modernization negotiations, a process that the Trump administration hopes will produce more balanced trade among the three partners and a new and improved template for future free trade agreements.

Congress is watching and asserting its authority under Article 1 of the US Constitution. Stakeholders are having their say. While some further adjustments in direction and/or speed are possible, by summer’s end, America’s trade policy is likely to have been set on a transformative path.

First published as TTALK Quote No. 47 of 2017.

© 2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.

 

 

CANADA ON CETA AND NAFTA

FIRST CETA, THEN NAFTA

“I think the response from Canada [to the U.S. proposal for renegotiating NAFTA] was a very open response to the possibility of modernizing and updating. And I think you have to look no further than CETA to see what Canada means by that.”

Colin Bird
June 23, 2017

CONTEXT

Colin Bird is the Minister for Trade and Economic Policy at the Canadian Embassy in Washington. As a panelist at the GBD event on June 23, he made several major points in a calm and quiet voice. For us, the biggest of these is that Canada has just notched a big win in trade policy. CETA, Canada’s Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement with the European Union, is largely a done deal. And it is a big deal. In the words of the EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, “It is the most modern and advanced trade agreement ever made.”

As for when it will be implemented, Mr. Bird said, “We are, I think, very, very close to application of the CETA.” But that was in late June. In early July, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, met on the margins of the G-20 Summit in Germany, and they set a date. Provisional application of CETA will begin on September 21, 2017.

So, how provisional is “provisional” application? Mr. Bird put it this way:

“When you’re talking provisional application, that sounds very tentative. In reality, it means essentially full application of the CETA, with the exception of certain investor issues that are in member state competence.

“So, what does that mean? You’re looking at 98 percent of tariff lines going duty-free as of day one, as soon as we bring it into force. We’ve got fairly concise phase-outs for those very sensitive products in the sort of 3, 5, 7 year range. So that will be at about 99 percent of tariff lines duty-free by the time the phase-ins are complete.”

But tariffs are just a part of it. Mr. Bird praised CETA for an array of elements including its provisions on labor, on environment, on transparency, on services, and most notably (for us) on government procurement. “You look at the level of ambition on government procurement and it’s really quite dramatic; so that we are down to the provincial, the Member State, [and] city level in terms of openness to procurement.”

And Mr. Bird was quite clear in making the connection between CETA and NAFTA. “We’ve had an agreement [CETA],” he said, that has essentially leap-frogged NAFTA.” That in itself, he suggested, makes the case for the effort to try to modernize and update NAFTA.

As to how difficult the NAFTA project is going to be, Mr. Bird took note of the mixed character of the climate for the negotiations. He spoke positively of the high-level engagement in all three NAFTA countries. On the other hand, he also took note of the “challenges in terms of managing an agreement going forward, particularly when you have rhetoric that can sometimes look win-lose.”

But overall his assessments of the looming NAFTA talks was more positive than negative, more upbeat than otherwise. That, at any rate, is how we understood this passage in his comments:

“The rhetoric around America first and economic nationalism that we’re hearing in the United States does not necessarily have to translate into a win-lose model. And Canada is very focused on keeping a win-win model going forward into these negotiations, or a win-win-win model going forward into these negotiations.”

COMMENT

An honored boss of many years ago would often brush aside our over-reliance on precedence, footnotes, and documentation. “Just assert it,” he would say. So we shall simply assert our belief that any negotiation — and certainly the negotiation of a major trade agreement — is more likely to end successfully if the partner or partners on the other side of the table are strong, confident, and clear in their purpose. In that sense, Mr. Bird’s comments at GBD were full of good omens for the upcoming NAFTA negotiations. For starters, Canada is feeling confident about trade. “We are probably at one of the most unified places I’ve ever seen Canada on trade,” he said.

Even if, from an American perspective, such confidence is a good thing, it’s probably not an unqualified blessing. By itself, it may make it harder for the U.S. to get Canada to budge from the protectionist barriers it still enjoys. When you add in the well-founded concerns in the U.S. that the NAFTA talks could end up doing more harm than good, the situation becomes even more complicated.

That said, count us among the optimists. It is our strong impression that USTR Robert Lighthizer, Canada’s Minister for International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne, and Mexico’s Secretary of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal, all have a clear idea of what’s at stake  and that each of them is responding to the same unwavering imperative: Don’t screw it up!

SOURCES & LINKS

The Diplomatic Panel takes you to the YouTube video of the Diplomatic Panel on the EU and North America from the GBD conference on June 23, 2017. This was the source for today’s featured quote.

On the EU Website. Among other things, this page on the EU website includes a video clip with the above quote from Cecilia Malmstrom.

Date Set takes you to the BBC story about the July meeting between Justin Trudeau and Jean-Claude Juncker, in which they set September 21 as the date for provisional implementation of CETA.

Originally published as TTALK Quote No. 46 of 2017.

© 2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.

 

NAFTA NEGOTIATING OBJECTIVES

NAFTA AND THE PRESIDENT’S PROMISE

“President Trump continues to fulfill his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans.”

Robert Lighthizer
July 17, 2017

CONTEXT

This is a NAFTA week in Washington. We use the indefinite article “a” rather than “the,” because there have been others and there will be more. But this is an important one. On Monday (July 17), the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer “released a detailed and comprehensive summary of the negotiating objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).” Yesterday, July 18, the House Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing on the modernization of NAFTA, and on Thursday, July 20, WITA, the Washington International Trade Association, will begin its NAFTA series.

Today’s featured quote is from the USTR press release announcing the publication of their NAFTA negotiating objectives. Here is the full quote:

“President Trump continues to fulfill his promise to renegotiate NAFTA to get a much better deal for all Americans. Too many Americans have been hurt by closed factories, exported jobs, and broken political promises. Under President Trump’s leadership, USTR will negotiate a fair deal. We will seek to address America’s persistent trade imbalances, break down trade barriers, and give Americans new opportunities to grow their exports. President Trump is reclaiming American prosperity and making our country great again.”

***

So what are America’s negotiating objectives for NAFTA? Well, by our count, there are 159, including items and subsets of items in each category. And there are 22 categories from trade in goods to currency as follows:

Trade in Goods
Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
Customs, Trade Facilitation, and Rules of Origin
Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
Good Regulatory Practices
Trade in Services, Including Telecommunication and Financial Services
Digital Trade in Goods and Services and Cross-Border Flows
Investment
Intellectual Property
Transparency
State-Owned and Controlled Enterprises
Competition Policy
Labor
Environment
Anti-Corruption
Trade Remedies
Government Procurement
Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises
Energy
Dispute Settlement
General Provisions
Currency

COMMENT

The Sting, which came out in 1973, was the second great movie starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. The first, of course, was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969, but it is The Sting we want to talk about because it has a moral, sort of, which is applicable here, sort of.

The title of the film may have been “the sting,” but if there is a single word that dominates the film it is “con.” It is a rich word, and no single synonym really sums it up, but “swindle” comes close. Newman’s character, Henry Gondorff, is the more seasoned con man. Redford’s character, Johnny Hooker, more the apprentice. The wonderfully mean character they want to swindle is Doyle Lonnegan, played by Robert Shaw.

Relatively early on Newman offers this advice:

“You gotta keep Lonnegan’s con, even after you spent his money.”

It is good advice and doesn’t just apply to dishonest transactions. As most good salesmen will tell you — reinforced by their company’s advertising — “Your last purchase with us was a great investment (just as your next one will be).”

NAFTA’s big problem was that really no effort was ever made to keep the con of the American electorate after the deal was done. There are several strands to that rope. One of them, of course, is that no one was elected to negotiate an FTA with Mexico, the new element of NAFTA. A second is that a third party candidate, H. Ross Perot, managed to garner a whopping 18.9 percent of the popular vote by running against NAFTA in the presidential election that came after NAFTA had largely been negotiated but before it was implemented. That was in 1992.

There is one more strand that needs to be mentioned. It is just as real but harder to put your finger on than the other two. And it is this. Over the last century, American politicians have regrettably been increasingly quite successful in their efforts to shield the public from unpleasantness, especially unpleasantness that might hurt candidates at the ballot box. In the Vietnam War, they first gave the middle class draft deferments and then went to an all volunteer Army. In the environmental arena, it was polluter pays. Citizens need not worry. The companies would take care of it. And as for NAFTA, well, people don’t like it. So we won’t talk about it.

Whatever one might think of candidate Trump’s extreme anti-NAFTA language, it provoked a national conversation, and that conversation has, among other things, begun to bring out just how important NAFTA has become to the United States. Earlier TTALK Quotes took note of some of the sectors that have become highly dependent on the North American and particularly the Mexican market over the course of the last 23 years. Later today, we will highlight another such sector, namely U.S. pork producers.

Our impression is that these discussions have begun to reshape the public’s view of NAFTA, and they have clearly had a demonstrably salutary effect on policy. The widely shared first and, we think, accurate impression of the NAFTA negotiating objectives published by USTR on Monday is that they are indeed designed to upgrade and improve a valuable agreement and not, as many feared, to destroy it. That is not to say that these objectives are not ambitious. They are. Nor is it to say that the negotiations that are set to begin next month will not be tough. They will be. There is also every reason to believe, however, that in the end they will  be successful.

We will conclude this entry with something Nick Giordano of the National Pork Producers Council said at the GBD NAFTA event on May 25. It was during the final Q&A session.. A reporter asked what would happen if the negotiations failed. Mr. Giordano said he thought a genuine failure of the talks, an end to NAFTA, would trigger a farm crisis in the United States. The heart of his response, however, was more positive. He said:

“The way I look at this, North America is the low-cost production platform for agriculture — really for manufacturing as well. So the opportunity… There’s opportunity all over the world, but the greatest opportunity is in the Asia Pacific Region. It’s in Asia. They need our [North American] products there. And so, we benefit by working together. We benefit by further harmonizing our standards. …”

 

SOURCES & LINKS

NAFTA Objectives Announced is a link to the  July 17, press release from USTR on the newly published U.S. negotiating objectives for an updated and improved North American Free Trade Agreement. This includes the statement from Ambassador Lighthizer that is today’s featured quote.

The Objectives is a link to USTR’s summary of the U.S. negotiating objectives for the upcoming NAFTA negotiations.

WITA Series takes you to the page of the website of the Washington International Trade Association with details for WITA’s upcoming NAFTA series.

Dairy and NAFTA is a link to the TTALK quote for June 14, which deal with this issue.

From Cars to Carrots is the YouTube video recording of the agricultural panel’s presentations, including the Q&A, at GBD’s NAFTA event on May 25, 2017.

Orginally published on July 19, 2017 as TTALK Quote No. 43
© 2017 The Global Business Dialogue, Inc.

 

NAFTA AND THE U.S. PORK INDUSTRY

AMERICAN PORK: AN EXPORT POWERHOUSE

“The U.S. pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade.”

Nicholas D. Giordano
May 25, 2017

CONTEXT AND COMMENT

Nick Giordano is the Vice President and Counsel for Global Affairs at the National Pork Producers Council. He was the last of nine speakers at the GBD NAFTA event on May 25, NAFTA, From Car to Carrots. As we noted in the TTALK Quote published earlier today, the fear that the United States might withdraw or otherwise scrap NAFTA has lessened in the last couple of months.

That is a welcome development. So too is the clear and steady movement toward an orderly process of renegotiating and upgrading NAFTA. The most recent step in that process was taken earlier today [July 19, 2017] when USTR announced that John Melle, Assistant USTR for the Western Hemisphere, will be America’s Chief Negotiator for the NAFTA negotiations and that the first round of talks will be held in Washington from August 16 to August 20.

As the NAFTA countries prepare for that first round, it is important to keep in mind that, as important as NAFTA is for the United States, it is as or more important for Canada and Mexico. Each of the three NAFTA countries has an enormous stake in NAFTA and in the success of the NAFTA negotiations.

That said, the picture Nick Giordano painted back in May of NAFTA and the U.S. pork industry was an exceptionally useful illustration of that point from the perspective of one segment of the North American economy, American pork producers. After transcribing his remarks, we could not decide what to include and what to cut. So here in its entirety is the speech Mr. Giordano gave at GBD on May 25. (The inserted headlines and added emphases are ours.)

REMARKS OF NICK GIORDANO — MAY 25, 2017

Thank you, Dave.* Thanks to Judge and the Global Business Dialogue* for having the National Pork Producers Council participate in this important event. It’s a great pleasure to be up here with my colleagues from agriculture, who I’ve gotten the opportunity to work with on various issues over the years.

As David knows, I’ve never met a microphone I didn’t like. Don’t worry. I’m going to make your job easy. I’ve written my comments out. So, I can keep us on schedule here. So we can get to questions and Judge can get everybody out in a timely manner.

ON THE COUNCIL
The National Pork Producers Council is a federation of 43 state pork producer organizations, representing the national, global interests of 60,000 U.S. pork producers, who generate $23 billion annually in farmgate sales. The U.S. pork industry supports an estimated 550,000 domestic jobs and generates more than $39 billion a year in economic activity.

U.S. PORK EXPORTS
The U.S. pork industry is the poster child for expanded trade. As recently as 1995, the United States imported more pork than it exported. But, in the past ten years, thanks to new market access through trade deals going back … before NAFTA — the U.S. pork industry, on average, has been, the past ten years, the top pork exporting nation in the word.

In any given year, we ship pork to more than 100 countries. But, because of trade deals, and specifically FTAs, we ship more U.S. pork to the twenty nations with which we have FTAs than to the rest of the world combined. Exports contribute significantly to the bottom line of all U.S. pork producers, adding more than $50 to the value of each hog marketed last year, when about $6 billion worth of U.S. pork was exported.

It’s been noted [that] on May 18th, the Administration notified the Congress of its intention to enter into negotiations with Mexico and Canada to modernize the NAFTA. Today, NPPC [the National Pork Producers Council] released a paper on the NAFTA. The paper is intended to provide background and insights regarding benefits generated by the NAFTA.

In addition, the paper details the costs associated with erecting new import barriers through renegotiation or withdrawal from the NAFTA. The paper is available on our website, nppc.org. The focus of the paper is economy wide, but today I’ll limit my comments, for the most part, to the pork sector. Mexico and Canada represent, in value terms, our second and third largest export markets for pork.

In 2016, we shipped $1.4 billion in pork products to Mexico and $800 million to Canada. Together, these two markets represent 36 percent of our global pork exports and over 15 percent of our total pork production.

THE NAFTA RISKS
According to Iowa State University economist Dermot Hayes, who Judge has had as a panelist in past GBD activities, U.S. pork exports to Mexico have created more than 9,000 U.S. jobs. Dr. Hayes, who, I might add, has forgotten more about the global pork industry than most people will ever know. According to Hayes, if Mexico were to place a 20 percent duty on our pork, and allowed the EU and Canadian pork duty free access, which is likely to happen if there is a termination or duties put on pork, then we would — the United States — would lose all of the Mexican market.

In his assessment, Professor Hayes also looked at the possibility of U.S. pork finding alternative markets and concluded that the U.S. pork industry would be left with a net loss of about 600,000 tons or 5 percent of our production. This would cause a 10 percent reduction in live hog prices. At today’s hog prices, that’s about $14 per animal. Now, with 118.3 million hogs harvested in the United States last year, that means the loss of the Mexican market would translate to an aggregate industry loss of about $1.7 billion annually.

A loss in exports to Mexico of that magnitude would be cataclysmic for the U.S. pork industry. Now, make no mistake, pork producers do and will support updating and improving the NAFTA but if, and only if, duties on U.S. pork remain at zero and pork exports are not disrupted. The prospects of going back to pre-NAFTA tariffs are daunting, not just for pork producers but for the entire U.S. economy. And we have history as our guide.

LESSON FROM HISTORY
After the stock market crash in October 1929, when unemployment began to rise, Congress decided it would be a good idea to impose additional tariffs on imports “to save jobs.” Despite the pleas of over 1,000 mainstream economists for President Hoover to veto the bill, the so-called Smoot-Hawley tariffs were introduced in 1930. Jobs were immediately lost in trade related fields and beyond, including dock workers, transportation, distribution etc. And within three months, unemployment nearly doubled to 14 percent. Over the next two years, unemployment soared to 27 percent, as jobs were lost to other factors, including higher inflation, reduced disposable income, and, of course, foreign retaliation against our exports. The Great Depression was then in full force, and became global. The rest, as they say, is history.

COSTS OF FAILURE
Now, I’m not suggesting that a NAFTA renegotiation gone awry would result in another great depression, but it could result in unintended consequences. Mexico will elect a new president in July 2018. The NAFTA renegotiation could have a significant impact on both the presidential election in Mexico and the long term relationship between our two nations. The NAFTA has created jobs to the benefit of both the United States and Mexico. In 1994 our trade with Mexico was roughly in balance at about $50 billion each way. By 2016, our exports to Mexico had nearly quintupled to $231 billion, and these now support some 6 million jobs.

And while imports to the United States from Mexico were $294 billion, those too supported millions of U.S. jobs, and nearly 40 percent of Mexican imports include U.S. content. In short, NAFTA created jobs in both the United States and Mexico. Now, I won’t deny that jobs did go to Mexico as the result of plant closings, but it’s misleading to say that trade under NAFTA resulted in a net loss of jobs in the United States.

We should also keep in mind that as a result of NAFTA, Mexico made substantially deeper cuts in tariffs on U.S. goods than did the U.S. on Mexican goods. If NAFTA were to be terminated, Mexico would have the right to reimpose those much higher tariffs on our goods, thus making the trade deficit bigger.

Mexico has free-trade agreements with many other countries and is pursuing even more. Without NAFTA, those countries would immediately secure huge competitive advantages over potentially thousands of U.S. products, including pork of course, in the Mexican market.

NAFTA is an old trade agreement–23 years. But it has accomplished a great deal. And, it certainly can be modernized. But, if I’m making one point [and] you’ve been listening, there are enormous risks associated with the notion that withdrawal from NAFTA could be an attractive alternative if efforts to negotiate a more modern agreement fail. Thank you.

NOTES, SOURCES AND LINKS

*On Referenced Personalities. Dave Salmonsen of the American Farm Bureau Federation served as moderator for the panel discussion on agriculture. Judge Morris is the president of the Global Business Dialogue, which hosted the event.

The Carrots Part takes you to the YouTube video of the full agriculture panel at GBD’s May 25 event on NAFTA. This was the source of today’s featured quote and the above transcript.

First Round Announced is a link to today’s USTR press release, which included both the dates for the first round of negotiations and the name of the U.S. Chief Negotiator for the NAFTA talks, namely, John Melle.

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Originally published on July 19, 2017, as TTALK Quote No. 44 of 2017.