Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer has made a series of ridiculous demands during negotiations with Mexican and Canadian officials. Chief among those demands is raising the content requirement for cars and trucks produced in North American including a new 50-percent U.S.-specific content requirement. That means America be would entitled by law to a larger share of the pie.
Ridiculous is one word for that. Arrogant is another.
The requirements appear to be single biggest sticking point in NAFTA negotiations and Canadian trade officials believe they have a solution: classify more parts as "content"
On Wednesday, Canadian negotiators unveiled what they termed “creative ideas” to address U.S. demands for a sunset clause and higher auto content.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday and asked a series of technical questions about the autos proposals, said a source briefed on the meeting.
Canada suggests North American content would be higher if the value of software and other high-tech equipment made on the continent were taken into account.
This seems like the kind of thing Robert Lighthizer wouldn't fall for because he is an unhinged hardliner, but Trump might fall for it. This is the kind of slight-of-hand and clever book-keeping that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trump's economic adviser Gary Cohn would endorse.
Don't get me wrong. If NAFTA survives because Canadian officials decided to bend the rules and act more like their American counterparts for this occasion, that's good. No one will be none the wiser.
Canadian officials aren't the ones making ridiculous demands, they simply want to pacify the White House with "creative ideas."