Trump and NAFTA: Negotiations Aren’t Going Well, According to This Justin Trudeau Story.
Consequences of incompetence
How bad are U.S. and Canadian relations right now? Well, today the Trump administration announced that it would slap steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada. Canada announced it would retaliate with tariffs of its own. And then, at the press conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shared a story that makes it sound like negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement—the deal that makes the entire modern supply chain for many major industries possible on this continent and keeps much of America’s farm country afloat—really have hit a brick wall.
Trudeau told reporters that he thought negotiations over NAFTA were going well enough that last week he suggested a in-person meeting with Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in Washington to hammer out a final deal. “We already had the bones of a very good agreement for all parties, and I thought it might be opportune for all of us to sit down for a few hours and discuss it,” he said. On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence called to say, sure, the White House would host the meeting, but only if Trudeau agreed in advance to add a five-year sunset clause to NAFTA, meaning that the pact would expire after five years unless the U.S., Canada, and Mexico all agreed to renew it. “So I answered that, unfortunately, if that was a precondition to our visit, I was unable to accept — and so we did not go to Washington for that day of negotiations.”