Mexico says NAFTA talks separate from Trump's tariffs policy


Our national security is only as strong as American steel.

That's exactly what it's about. Trump struck an unusually optimistic tone on the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but repeated his threat to quit the pact if the talks fall short. The major problem here being that Trump has a different idea of a "fair" NAFTA than both Canada and Mexico.

By exempting Canada and Mexico, the Trump administration has exempted 26 percent of the value of all steel imported into the US and 40 percent of the value of imported aluminum.

"That's a thinly-veiled reference to NAFTA negotiations, which are now in their eighth round of talks as the three countries seek to update the more than two-decade old agreement that governs trade between them", the Evans story continues.

European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said: "The EU is a close ally of the United States and we continue to be of the view that the EU should be excluded from these measures".

The Commerce report recommended two tariff options to boost USA capacity to 80 percent. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer struck a relatively upbeat tone at a closing press conference in Mexico City, warning talks needed to move more quickly but saying he was open to "compromise" on U.S. proposals in hopes of getting an updated deal through the current Congress. Freeland said there was "good, solid progress" made in the recent round and that "a win-win-win deal" is within reach.

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"Our industries have been targeted for years and years by unfair foreign trading practices", Trump said at the signing ceremony, "And that's going to stop". He also pointed out, according to a source, that the tough trade talk will likely have negative effects on the ongoing NAFTA negotiations. The tariff is collected by customs officials and goes to the government.

"The first thing I did when that tweet came out yesterday morning, I got in touch with the federal government to tell them our industry was not expecting anything out of this...that the government should remain firm in its positions", he said Monday.

That says it all. The question is will Canada follow or just walk out of the arena?

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland discussed the tariffs with USA trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Top economic advisor Gary Cohn left the White House Tuesday over disagreements with Trump on the policy. I guess we will all just have to wait and see.