Economy

Shocker: Trump’s NAFTA “Negotiations” Aren’t Going Well

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

During the rambling, unhinged klansman speech Trump delivered in Arizona last night, he said it was probably "inevitable" that the United States will unilaterally withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Why would he say that now after choosing not to withdraw earlier this year?

Well, Trump likes to just say shit, especially shit that he blurted out during the 2016 campaign, and that could be the case in this instance, but American, Mexican, and Canadian officials just met for the first time and the American representative kicked off negotiations with a harsh tone.

From the Detroit News:

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in opening remarks of the five-day negotiation in Washington that the president is looking for wholesale changes to the trade agreement that has been blamed for lost jobs in the U.S. auto industry.

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

Canadian and Mexican officials pushed back in public comments of their own, defending their countries positions on the benefit of the original agreement.

It's not clear exactly what the Trump regime hopes to get out of this aside from simply looking like they're taking a tough stance, but those lobbying the White House apparently want to adopt a de facto border tax in all but name by imposing duties on more imported products from Canada and Mexico. The problem is doing that would make imports from China even more appealing.

It's not as if Canada and Mexico are the only games in town, but we benefit more from doing business with them than any other country.

For their part, Trump regime officials have never clearly stated what they want. To say that they want a "better deal" for Americans is meaningless. Everyone wants a better deal in life, but that is not a specific goal or target for negotiations. I don't know if you could even call this a "negotiation" because it doesn't appear that American officials are offering to give up something in return.

At the end of the day, I don't expect to see the kind of "wholesale changes" Lighthizer is calling for nor do I expect Trump will withdraw from NAFTA. The economic consequences would be immediate and severe for nearly every person in America. This could be the kind of thing that prompts immediate congressional intervention to reinstate it.

None of this, of course, will ever stop Trump from talking about it. He's still talking about a border wall.

  • Christopher Foxx

    It’s not clear exactly what the Trump regime hopes to get out of this aside from simply looking like they’re taking a tough stance

    Nailed it.

    Appearing to look tough is all Trump’s after. He is, of course, in actuality an incredibly insecure wimp. hence the need to do anything that might make him feel like a tough guy.

    • ninjaf

      We used to have a 150 lb. rottweiler who was very friendly to everyone. So friendly that we wondered if he was territorial enough to prevent a burglary. One evening, when he was about a year old, we are sitting on the couch watching TV and he must have heard something on the porch. He didn’t make a noise. He got up, walked over to the door and stood there with his face right next to the door knob waiting for it to turn. He never made a sound — not even a single bark or growl. He just went to the door and was ready and waiting for whatever was going to come through it. That is what a bad ass really is.

      Trump, on the other hand, is that yippy little chihuahua the little old lady down the street has who thinks it’s funny and cute when her dog is aggressive. Everyone knows that thing is nothing to really worry about, except maybe a bite leading to a couple of puncture wounds. But it ain’t stopping anything from happening and no one is the least bit intimidated.

  • Nefercat

    “… it doesn’t appear that American officials are offering to give up something in return.”
    ———————————————–
    Of course they’re not. Since when does trump owe anyone else anything? Others should be willing, even grateful, to give the Great Orange Toad anything he wants just to bask in the warmth of his momentary, fleeting pleasure.

    He’s the great nuhgosheeator. Just ask him.

  • muselet

    Wikipedia:

    Lighthizer has stated “I try to be friendly in negotiations. I’m not the theatrical type. The art of persuasion is knowing where the leverage is”.

    Said the man who made an unfriendly, theatrical, unpersuasive opening statement about NAFTA.

    Plus, I’m not sure what leverage Robert Lighthizer or his boss thinks the US has in these negotiations. Mexico and Canada have made it clear their future is Asia Pacific trade, so they won’t be afraid to walk away from NAFTA renegotiations: doing so would hurt them less than it would hurt the US.

    Donald Trump is a terrible negotiator, even by proxy.

    –alopecia

    • Tony Lavely

      Maybe we should look at who edited his Wikipedia page…

      • muselet

        The quote is, as far as I can tell, accurate. The hover-text was just my usual sniping at Wikipedia, which I use daily (for basic information, it’s hard to beat).

        –alopecia

  • He’s just crazy and half the shit out of his mouth is not tethered to anything remotely plausible in reality.

    • Georgie
      • Badgerite

        Makes me wanna call……..Ghost Busters.

        • Sandratwilliams

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    • Christopher Foxx

      Half??!

      I think you’re estimating way low.