Frihandel i media vecka 43

Den här veckan har dominerats av NAFTA-förhandlingarna. Här följer ett antal klipp från internationell press:

Bloomberg:

“Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland criticized a one-sided strategy in Nafta negotiations after U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said he wasn’t prepared to make concessions to reach a deal.

“A negotiation where a one party takes a winner-takes-all approach is a negotiation that may find some difficulties in reaching a conclusion,” Freeland said Thursday during a press conference in Toronto, without specifying which party she was referring to. She later added Canada understands the value of opening new export markets in China and elsewhere. “Perhaps now we understand it more urgently than ever.”

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Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico’s economy minister and lead Nafta negotiator, told reporters on Sunday his country has some margin to compromise with the U.S. on Nafta, without specifying in which areas. The government will be analyzing that issue between now and the next round of talks, scheduled for Mexico City from Nov. 17-21.

The previous round wrapped up this month with ministers trading barbs amid five key impasses on dairyautomotive content, dispute panels, government procurement and a sunset clause. Mexico and Canada are effectively dismissing U.S. proposals on all five.”

Observer:

“In an interview on Fox New’s Lou Dobbs Tonight on Wednesday, President Donald Trump elaborated on his initiative to end the North American Free Trade Agreement, stating that he believed terminating the agreement is the only way to ensure a fair deal for the United States.

A common argument against NAFTA is that it lowers the demand for American manufacturing jobs because Mexican labor is cheaper.

“We’ve been very tough, and we’re being very fair, but we have to get back a lot,” Trump said in his interview with Lou Dobbs. “What’s happened to this country with NAFTA is unbelievable; the jobs that have been taken, the factories that are moving out of Michigan, out of Ohio, out of Pennsylvania, out of our states is incredible.””

The Hill:

“President Trump is holding fast to his threats to withdraw from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) to gain leverage in the contentious negotiations.

Trump repeated his threat, which he presented as a negotiating strategy, during his private lunch with Republican senators on Tuesday.

He told the senators that the United States may need to start the six-month withdrawal process to reach a better agreement with Canada and Mexico. Trump has previously suggested that this threat of withdrawal could lead to concessions by the trading partners.

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Bill Reinsch, a trade expert with the Stimson Center, said Thursday at a Cato Institute trade event that at this stage one of the most likely scenarios is that the three countries get into a stare down over the deal and none are willing to either agree or pull the trigger to pull out of the agreement.

The process is murky regarding how Trump could withdraw from the deal.

Trump could start the clock ticking but Congress would likely flex its muscle about its role in any final decision. But there are no hard and fast rules about how that would work.

The next round of talks are next month in Mexico City. Negotiations will continue into 2018.

The discussions have at least one built-in political deadline: Mexico’s presidential elections on July 1.”

Robert Samuelson i Washington Post:

“The NAFTA war is heating up. It’s a confusing conflict because perceptions are driven by political rhetoric, not economic reality.

NAFTA, of course, stands for the North American Free Trade Agreement, which has eliminated most tariffs among the United States, Mexico and Canada. During the campaign, candidate Donald Trump denounced NAFTA as a bad deal for the United States. He vowed to improve or scrap it. The trouble is that NAFTA actually isn’t a bad deal for the United States.

Consider. Canada and Mexico are the first- and second-largest markets for U.S. exports. In 2015, these exports — counting both goods (such as computers) and services (such as tourism) — amounted to $600 billion. That’s more than a quarter of total U.S. exports and almost four times U.S. exports to China.

Why would we want to attack our best foreign markets? But what about the massive trade deficit with Mexico? On inspection, it turns out not to be so large.

It’s true that Mexico had a $63 billion surplus in goods traded with us in 2016. But it also runs a deficit with the United States in services. Likewise, Canada runs a slight overall deficit with us in goods and services. Counting these trade flows, the United States runs about a $50 billion deficit with the two countries on total trade of $1.2 trillion. The U.S. deficit roughly equals 4 percent of NAFTA trade.

It’s a good deal for us and our partners. We all get more consumer choice. We all get more competition, which holds down prices. Jobs are created in all the countries. To be sure, some American jobs are lost, as factories move to Mexico. This is hard on the displaced workers, but so is competition that eliminates American jobs for other American jobs. Overall, benefits exceed costs.”