Trump’s Trade Rep. Drops One Ridiculous NAFTA Demand, Adds Another

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Good news -- American trade representatives have dropped their demand for higher content thresholds for cars and light trucks produced in North America under the North American American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

(Reuters) - The U.S. government has dropped a demand that all vehicles made in Canada and Mexico for export to the United States contain at least 50 percent U.S. content, The Globe and Mail reported on Tuesday, citing sources. [...]

The Trump administration had been seeking to raise the amount of NAFTA content in autos to 85 percent from 62.5 percent and secure 50 percent of the total for the United States.

I've often called this demand "ridiculous" in the past because the Trump regime was asking for exclusive content rights that American manufacturers can't even meet.

Raising the North American content threshold from 62 to 85 percent would have led to a surge in imports from outside the North American trade zone (mostly from China), but mandating that at least 50 of the 85 percent come from exclusively American producers was never a realistic demand. Representatives from dozens of companies and industries warned the Trump regime that such a mandate would cost thousands of jobs because importing cars and trucks would be cheaper than reconfiguring and expanding their entire North American supply chain.

The realities of the global economy aside, it's also quite arrogant to demand exclusive rights (what happened to the Free Market?) that you can't even meet.

Now that that's out of the way, Trump's trade representative Robert Lighthizer is not quite done embarrassing us.

The Trump regime is trying to use the trade agreement talks to prevent Mexico and Canada from adopting food warning labels aimed at fighting obesity.

Officials in Mexico and Canada — along with governments in Brazil, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina and Colombia — are discussing options like the use of colors, shapes and other easy-to-understand symbols that warn consumers of health risks. They were inspired in large part by Chile’s introduction of stringent regulations in 2016 that include requirements for black stop-sign warnings on the front of some packages.

But the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is leading the Nafta talks on the American side, is trying to head off the momentum. It is pushing to limit the ability of any Nafta member to require consumer warnings on the front of sugary drinks and fatty packaged foods, according to a draft of the proposal reviewed by The New York Times.

Let's fully appreciate the absurdity of the United States of America demanding that other nations abandon consumer safety and public health regulations. Let's appreciate the absurdity of anyone actually believing that Republicans would do anything except attempt to make things worse.

While this is ongoing, Canada officials have been making their own demands for stricter labor laws in the United States because our weak laws give American labor a competitive advantage over Canadian labor.

We are the shithole country.

  • Ceoltoir

    As the Deep South continues to undermine the rights of workers across the Developed World.

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  • muselet

    Ridiculous? Arrogant? Embarrassing? Absurd? Yes.

    However, Donald Trump wants to abandon NAFTA, so his minions are looking for ways to make that happen. The Trade Representative’s car content demand was rightly the subject of much mirth, so now it’s on to health and safety warnings (we must protect American companies’ right to sell Chocolate-Dipped Deep Fried Lard Balls unfettered by all that nanny-state nonsense, don’t you know).

    Sooner or later, Robert Lighthizer’s office will stumble on a demand so over-the-top that Canada and Mexico will refuse even to entertain it. At that point, the Trump administration will declare those countries unreliable trading partners and withdraw from NAFTA. Job done.

    At this point, I wouldn’t blame any country for deciding to stop trading with the United States.


  • Draxiar

    They truly are horrible people, working for a horrible man-thing, who has crafted a horrible administration, to put forth horrible ideas, to make horrible policy.
    I’ll fully cop to the fact that it’s not nearly as bad as it is in other countries…but we could be so much better than we are. This man-thing is doing everything he can to Make America Suck Again.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    Small government, free market conservatives are hypocrites.

    Who knew?

    • Aynwrong

      I feel like raising my hand in class while going “Ooh, ooh, Pick me! Pick me!”