Trump says new NAFTA deal for United States could avert tariffs

White House top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, Wednesday announced his resignation after strongly opposing the tariffs.

Two truths here: One is that the benefits of the North American Free Trade Agreement - a three-country deal - have flowed in all directions.

Countries are already gearing up to respond to the steel and aluminum tariffs-aimed at safeguard USA industry-if the president signs off on them.

"Canada is America's best friend in every respect", he said.

"What I can confirm, and he's mentioned this, to the extent that we reach our objective in renegotiating NAFTA, which is the priority, that Canada and Mexico will be exempt from those tariffs", he told the House panel.

What is certain, however, is that Canadian aluminium producers were taken by surprise by US president Donald Trump's premature announcement.

"We absolutely would like to get a deal done".

Mexico and Canada have been looking elsewhere for economic relationships, and they're finding them.

The two US trading partners have threatened retaliation unless they are exempted from the planned tariffs, which have rattled financial markets.

"We're comfortable that we're going to manage through this so that it is not detrimental to our growth projections", Mnuchin said in a Fox Business interview with Maria Bartiromo Wednesday. Foreign suppliers may also begin to look outside the United States for other customers.

World leaders - particularly allies - are typically keen to find opportunities to stand next to the president of the United States.

Mexico would bear the brunt of the fallout because "it needs NAFTA, it needs external factors to grow economically", said Martinez.

Last week Kitimat Unifor Local 2301 president Sean O'Driscoll said Unifor representatives would be meeting with the provincial energy and trade ministers in Victoria to lobby on behalf of BC Works members and the community. "Mexico does have other options".

This is the opposite of what boosters promised 23 years ago when the deal was debated by Congress.

Mexico is the second-largest foreign market for USA goods. In addition, the US mid-term Congressional elections and provincial elections in Canada loom.

But Trump's continual bashing of NAFTA has forced Mexicans to play defense.

US allies such as Canada have already said they would retaliate against the tariffs to protect their workers and steel and aluminum industries.

Thus, Mexico last year imported 10 times more corn from Brazil than the year before. He is expected to reveal more details later this week. Section 232 of the U.S. Trade Expansion Act of 1962 gives the president the power to impose restrictions on imports to protect national security. Canada is also the biggest importer of United States steel and aluminium.

That would mean completing the deal within weeks. A Michigan Big Three auto executive whose job is to accurately project global sales and profits told me, "We are bracing for whatever changes are made [in NAFTA]". His threats to deport immigrants brought to this country illegally as children can not possibly be helping.

"While the measure affects Canada more, because it is among the main exporters (of metals) to the USA market, it also impacts Mexico, and the fact that it was announced during the negotiation process adds tension to the talks", said Martinez. It would be China.

  • Leroy Wright