U.S. hikes tensions in NAFTA talks with call for 'sunset clause'

14 October 2017, 12:11 | Isaac Mcdaniel

STEPHEN CROWLEY NYT

STEPHEN CROWLEY  NYT

The Trump administration is seeking to use NAFTA to boost the US steel and other basic materials industries by proposing stricter automotive content rules that require the use of North American-made steel, aluminum, copper and plastic resins.

Dziczek and auto industry groups say that the USA content proposal is likely to backfire, with automakers and suppliers simply choosing to pay the 2.5 percent US tariffs for passenger cars and many parts, sourcing more of them from China and other low wage countries in Asia.

Mexico is heavily dependent on the United States and NAFTA for its economic viability, and uncertainty over the outcome of the talks helped push the Mexican peso to near five-month lows this week.

"There is scope in the negotiation of the agreement for a consensus that benefits the three countries", he said. Furthermore, Washington insists 50 percent of content must be USA -made.

His speech to the Mexican Senate capped a four day trip that began in Washington, D.C., largely revolving around the ongoing talks to rewrite the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement and bring it into the modern era.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative's office declined to comment on the autos proposal.

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A collapse of NAFTA would wreak havoc throughout the North American economy, disrupting highly integrated manufacturing supply chains and agricultural exports with steep tariffs that would snap back into place. "This thing is going into the toilet", Jerry Dias told reporters on Thursday.

Mexico and Canada are said to be opposed to the newest proposal.

He was speaking alongside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who later said Canada was "braced" for Trump's unpredictability.

Trump has put both Mexico and Canada on the defensive over trade, accusing the former of taking American jobs and the latter of unfair subsidies, and wants to either overhaul or "terminate" NAFTA.

Ahead of the fourth round of talks, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue hinted the U.S. would be looking for increased access to Canada's dairy.



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