Thursday, September 23, 2021

Trump takes another swipe at NAFTA

Washington, May 11 (EFE).- US President Donald Trump renewed on Friday his criticism of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) just as senior US, Canadian and Mexican officials have been meeting with the goal of concluding the renegotiation of the agreement.

“We’ll see what happens. We’re negotiating NAFTA right now. I’ve never been a NAFTA fan, as you know. NAFTA has been a terrible deal for the United States and one of the worst trade deals in history,” Trump told reporters before attending a roundtable at the White House with executives from the world’s largest automakers, including General Motors, Ford, Toyota and Daimler.

Trump said Mexico and Canada did not want to “lose the golden goose,” referring to NAFTA, adding that he represented the United States, not Mexico or Canada.

The automobile industry is one of the points that has caused the most contention in the renegotiation process, as Washington has demanded to increase the US-made content of cars and trucks sold under NAFTA, a proposal that Mexico and Canada oppose.

Trump’s criticism comes just as US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo were meeting in Washington.

After a week of intense negotiations, representatives from the three countries will meet again in Washington next week to continue talks.

“The negotiation will take as long as it takes to get a good deal,” Freeland told reporters after the meeting.

Freeland said that “solid” progress had been made during negotiations carried out in the last few weeks.

Guajardo said that the negotiating teams would remain in contact during the weekend and that he would stay alert before returning to Washington next Monday.

“We’re not going to sacrifice the quality of an agreement because of the pressure of time,” he said earlier on the subject of pressure to wrap up the talks quickly.

The three officials have recognized that the political clock could affect the renegotiation process, as the Mexican presidential election and the US mid-term elections will take place in July and November, respectively.

On Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan set May 17 as a deadline for Congress to review a draft accord and be able to vote on it before the mid-term elections.