Trump may be softening on Mexico and NAFTA

By Elliot Bullman

According toForbes, President Trump might be back-pedalling and only planning minor revisions to the North America Free Trade Agreement.

Last week the White House backed away from an administration letter to key members of Congress suggesting that President Donald Trump is softening his protectionist stance on NAFTA and instead seeking modest changes to the trade accord.

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The draft renegotiation plans circulated in a letter from acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn would leave in place controversial pieces of the trade pact with Canada and Mexico, including an arbitration panel that lets investors bypass the court system to redress claims under the pact.

NAFTA is, of course, what the frequently hyperbolic president not too longago vilified as “the worst trade deal” ever signed by the United States. To his way of thinking, what made the two-decade-old FTA between Canada, the United States and Mexico so onerous was job losses to Mexico.

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Still, Vaughn said in the letter that the U.S. will seek authority to reimpose tariffs to protect industries at risk of serious injury from trade with Canada or Mexico.

Trump is preparing to trigger a renegotiation of NAFTA. The president must consult with Congress before issuing a formal 90-day notice of his intent to revisit the deal, but the administration so far has been vague about what the U.S. will seek from Mexico and Canada in the talks.

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