Talks to overhaul Nafta at risk of failure

STEPHEN CROWLEY  NYT

"If the agreement dies overnight, this is going to have an impact on the daily lives of a lot of people, because all of a sudden there's going to be a scarcity of nearly everything that we consume in Mexico-especially on foodstuffs", says the former office head for S&P's Global Ratings in Mexico City. "We can have that discussion, but I really do think it won't be Mexico and Canada that are pushing back against the secretary, it will be a lot of Americans". "But it is our responsibility as a government to prepare for every eventuality, and that is what we are doing".

In lieu of an agreement, Trump said that he could envision the United States pursuing separate deals with Mexico and Canada, a move that would be a nonstarter with business groups and among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Trudeau in turn threatened to cancel a purchase of 18 fighter jets from American aerospace giant Boeing, saying he had told Trump he "disagreed vehemently" with the USA decision.

Ottawa was set to purchase 18 new Super Hornets fighter jets from Boeing until the American aerospace firm successfully petitioned the Trump administration to impose anti-dumping penalties on its Canadian rival Bombardier over planes sold in the USA market. And with no trade incentive to manufacture in the United States other than to avoid the 25 percent truck tariff, more full vehicle production would migrate to low-priced countries such as China, auto experts say.

Canadian Finance Minister William Morneau said today that he was optimistic for a new deal on North American trade, calling negotiations an "opportunity for improvement".

The US administration, having found Bombardier guilty of receiving state subsidies, slapped a 220 percent countervailing duty on Bombardier CS100 and CS300 aircraft imported into the United States.

He and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are expected to make a joint appearance.

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Prior to sitting down with Trudeau, Trump said it would be fine if NAFTA was terminated, although members of Congress expressed hope earlier in the day it could be reworked. The original free trade agreement signed between the United States and Canada in 1988 did not include Mexico.

Job losses could be as much as 24,000 if renegotiations lead to requirements for content from North American and specifically the United States, according to the study. "The problem is that we are running against a clock", he says.

The updated provisions on competition will allow for more "procedural fairness" in the enforcement of competition law, the statement said.

Trump has threatened to scrap the 1994 pact unless changes are made to address issues such as a $64 billion deficit with Mexico.

The US' other trade partners are nervously watching the Nafta negotiations, which are due to wind up with the last round in Washington next Tuesday. "There are several poison-pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal", Donohue said. Those "could doom the entire deal", Thomas Donohue, the Chamber's CEO said October 11.

"We all know that certainty and stability are crucial to successful trade relationships - and necessary to foster a pro-investment environment that drives economic growth and job creation".

Trudeau was heading to Mexico City after leaving Washington for talks with President Enrique Pena Nieto.

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