US And Canada In Open Feud Over NAFTA

Spotlight: NAFTA parties to extend trade talks into Q1 2018 with

In response to a question from The Hagstrom Report at a news conference ending the fourth round of negotiations on rewriting the North American Free Trade Agreement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer today confirmed that the United States has formally put forward proposals to make changes to Canada's dairy supply management system and to make it easier for U.S. fruit and vegetable producers to file trade cases due to seasonal Mexican imports that they believe are damaging their industry.

U.S. President Donald Trump last week threatened again to terminate NAFTA if the three countries could not reach a deal to update the 23-year-old trade agreement.

As taught in every freshman economics class, however, a nation's trade balance is nearly entirely governed by macroeconomic policies: To wit, if you don't save enough to pay for what you consume, you will run a trade deficit.

The fifth round, to be held in Mexico City, has been postponed until November 17-21. Canada's government dismissed the US dairy proposal, while the Dairy Farmers of Canada called it "outrageous".

For his part, Lighthizer identified both Canada and Mexico's "resistance to change" that manifested itself in a desire for "one-sided benefits".

But many US manufacturers moved production south of the border to take advantage of Mexico's low labor costs, then shipped goods back to the United States.

The Congressional Research Service says in a report issued last week that there is no clear path for Trump to reduce the United States trade deficit with Mexico, one of his major complaints and an overarching priority for revamping a pact he has repeatedly threatened to tear up.

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Mr Lighthizer complained that the Mexican and Canadian sides showed no evidence of willingness to make changes that would "rebalance" NAFTA to shrink U.S. trade deficits.

TPP countries agreed to a joint declaration that commits them to avoid unfair currency practices and refrain from competitive devaluation. Officials want to avoid tying the hands of their central banks when setting monetary policy, they said.

The U.S. business community says it wants to make investment decisions based on market forces, but wants political risk insurance paid for by the U.S. government, he said.

"We need to be prepared in a very sensible, pragmatic, dare I say it, a no fuss Canadian way, for the worst possible outcome", she said.

"The United States shares strong economic ties with Mexico and Canada".

The report, the official said, will serve as a reminder that there are many in the U.S. who agree with improving and modernizing the trading relationship with Canada, and that Congress will have a major say in the future of the deal.

Begun at the behest of the Trump administration, the new negotiations have set nerves on edge among market participants, with several USA proposals likely to face stiff opposition from US industry and lawmakers. Later asked why she was optimistic given the impasses, she said in French: "I don't think I've used the word 'optimist'". Most recently, the economic consulting firm ImpactECON LLS estimated that the US pulling out of NAFTA would cause a net loss of some 250,000 jobs over three to five years.

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