Donald Trump had a memorable presidential campaign. It was something we have never seen, and he attacked and trounced his political opponents – every last one of them. Even “Crooked Hillary” didn’t manage to beat Trump despite being the front-runner. But one of the things Trump complained about in the campaign were trade deals and two of them in particular – Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). About the latter, he said that it was “the worst trade deal ever signed.”
When he became president, Mr. Trump immediately removed America from TPP, but it appears that he realized it was a bad move. He expressed his remorse for withdrawing, and he wants to get back into the club. On the other hand, in prolonged talks with Canada, the possibility that America comes to the agreement about the NAFTA deal has been born. But will Trump agree to put his name on “the worst trade deal ever signed?”
According to CNBC, the representatives of the United States, Canada and Mexico are meeting on April 20th for the talks which will last for two weeks, as Robert Lighthizer, the US Trade Representative said. Trump managed to irritate both Canada and Mexico with his crazy demands and “America First” policy, but what’s good for him is that America’s neighbors are exempted from the new steel while aluminum tariffs are imposed as well.
This entire process is questionable, and there is still a long way to go for the US to sign the NAFTA. Flavio Volpe, who represents Canadian auto parts makers told Bloomberg that “on balance, we may be close enough . . . to get a deal done.” However, there are many issues which remained unresolved, and some of them include cars and agriculture, to name a few.
According to the Bank of Canada, the NAFTA remains in its initial form, but they warned that “a wide range of outcomes are still possible for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.” Last year when this deal was discussed both Mexico and Canada got a sense that America was the only one that would come out as the winner of the deal and they thought so for a reason. For the NAFTA deal to work, there must be a win-win-win situation. Otherwise, one of the countries will withdraw from the talks. Meanwhile, Lighthizer will have difficulties in Congress due to differences in opinions. Free-trade advocates, such as Kevin Brady, and skeptics such as Bill Pascrell will have to see the benefits of this deal, and it will be difficult for America’s Trade Representative to bridge a gap so wide.
In all this, Trump remains the biggest problem. Although he bragged that he could strike much better deals, he keeps struggling with the trade agreements. Furthermore, let’s not forget that he boasted about lying to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. As if that isn’t enough already, he is constantly posting on Twitter statements which are false, and he cannot differentiate between a trade deficit and a surplus. Not only is he tweeting inaccurate things about the relationship with Canada, but he also does so with the relationship between the US and China or the US and Mexico. Trump will have to realize that deals such as NAFTA are important for this country, but with him involved in the process, the American neighbors will have to pray that he has one of the “good days.”
The whole “America First” philosophy can cost this country a great deal in the future. Trade agreements are slowly collapsing, and we will see the true value of such deals once they are gone.