US President Donald Trump, who campaigned on promises to either fix or scrap the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that governs trade between the United States, Canada, and Mexico, seems poised to try and make good on that vow.
Reuters recently spoke to Thomas Donohue, CEO and President of the US Chamber of Commerce business lobby group, who said that he expects each of the three NAFTA member nations to reach a basic accord for a new trade deal by the middle of next year. “We’re not going to be fooling around with this deal in 2018,” he told the outlet.
But contrary to Trump’s combative language from the campaign trail, Donohue says that business leaders and policymakers appear to be more understanding of the need to negotiate a new NAFTA deal that doesn’t massively disrupt business. Trump’s calls for a 35-percent tariff on cars and automotive components imported from Mexico, for instance, haven’t been heard in some time. “Because if a country were to put a 35 percent tariff on products moving into their country, the guys you’re trading with are going to do it the next morning,” Donohue remarked.
Donohue believes that within the next few weeks, the government will send a letter to Congress communicating that it intends to begin NAFTA renegotiations in 90 days – the minimum required notification period under the fast-track process, according to Reuters. Mexico’s next presidential election will take place next July; the country’s government hopes to finish NAFTA talks before then.