By on August 24, 2018

If you’re anything like this author, you’ve probably abandoned discussing the North American Free Trade Agreement in your personal life. That’s not because it stopped being important, but rather due to the fact that none of the three countries involved seem capable of making any sort of progress.

Presently, the United States and Mexico are focusing on rules associated with automotive production. However, after two days of non-stop negotiation, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said the two sides haven’t resolved their differences on the pending issues. Now Mexico says it won’t consider further negotiations until Canada agrees to a deal.

Here’s where things get remarkably shitty. Canada has already explained that it’s waiting for the U.S. and Mexico to strike a deal of their own. “If they can resolve their differences on [automotive trade], then I think we can move ahead and have the three of us talk about some of the other issues that affect all of us,” David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S, said in an interview earlier this month. 

That leaves Canada only willing to resume talks if the United States shakes hands on something with Mexico, and Mexico only willing to move ahead if the U.S. and Canada agree to terms on the same deal. At this point, we might as well dissolve NAFTA, as nobody seems interested in keeping it around. Negotiations have only gone poorly after the United States moved for a renegotiation. But now it looks like the only country interested in keeping the agreement, despite asking for quite a bit in exchange.

Numerous self-imposed deadlines passed as the U.S. slowly backpedaled on some of its earlier demands. But it appears those efforts yeilded nothing.

Bloomberg reports that America has agreed to keep the 2.5-percent tariff that’s currently on cars imported from Mexico provided they’re assembled at factories that already exist. Tariff impositions for other vehicles were unclear, but the outlet claims they could be as high as 25 percent. The content rules also seem to have gone unchanged, mandating higher U.S. parts requirements in a bid to help secure American jobs. While it remains a contentious issue for foreign governments, domestic automakers don’t seem to mind.

Meanwhile, Canada has been out of talks for five weeks as it waits on Mexico and the United States. “We need to have engagement with Canada, and the only way it can happen is if we continue through the weekend and into next week,” Guajardo told reporters on Thursday.

We’ve heard nothing about Canada rejoining talks, but we do know it’s more on board with the U.S. proposals than Mexico. Perhaps it can work something out and get this slow-moving show back on the road. Otherwise, we may be stuck without an agreement until Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto leaves office in December.

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47 Comments on “Apparently, Everyone Negotiating NAFTA Is a Child...”


  • avatar
    jkross22

    The art of persuasion is becoming either a lost art or has fallen so out of favor that supposed leaders have given up on the tactic.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      Our leaders have their best interest over citizens. Elected representatives make a career out of politics and have little or no practical business experience. The greatest example is Obama. Community organizer, to state senator to US President. The result is left wing ideology over centrist. Nor can they write or pass any significant legislation. What they can do is raise funds and if they miss assigned DNC or RNC quotas their two or six year stint is up. If successful in fund raising, they get rich routing federal contracts to family members. It’s a cabal that robs the middle class every chance it gets.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        Not here in Canada. The liberals are holding every industry hostage to keep us paying ridiculously high cell phone bills (US wants full access to telecom, which is currently a monopoly of overcharging Canadian companies). And Dairy supply management which has tariffs of 300% on US imports, and throttled Canadian production which artificially inflates costs, to like $10 for a simple brick of cheese.

        I want cheaper cell bills and cheaper cheese dammit!

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          Agreed MoDo. When they come for your cheese, it’s time to spit on your hands and raise the pirate flag. Bast*ards.

        • 0 avatar
          DougD

          I’ll keep the steep cell bills if it means we get to keep our cheese.

          Can you imagine being flooded with imitation American cheese? I mean, what is that stuff anyway? American cheese already isn’t real cheese, plus it’s imitation. That’s like fake times two. Or fake squared.

          The strategy of not bending over and waiting for Trump to jerk off in a different direction seems to be working so far, but it’s not a good closing strategy. We shall see what transpires…

  • avatar
    JimZ

    a large percentage of people in this country include “how badly will this screw people I don’t like” as one of their criteria when deciding who to vote for, so why would you be surprised that the people they vote for are equally infantile in their behavior?

    • 0 avatar
      notwhoithink

      Truth. This is what you get when you put egotistic amateurs in charge. They demand something that they can call a “win” no matter what, and they’re opposed to the notion that “win-win” can actually exist.

    • 0 avatar
      syncro87

      JimZ, spot on. “How bad does this shaft the other team” is unfortunately too common these days. Not “how can we get this to benefit us, and maybe they get a little something as well” to take home to their people.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jim,
      My view is there is a multilateral arrangement/agreement and the Trump economic clowns are trying to setup individual arrangements.

      If you design a block and operate within that block, then cry foul, when there is no foul, only selfish self interest and populist fakery what do you expect.

      It’s the US that has set the tone for this issue between the NAFTA countries. The US made a profit from Canada under NAFTA, irrespective of tariffs/taxes, etc.

      Mexico is just competitive and the amount of money is quite trivial when all is said and done, the US picks up the difference by the 5 to 1 trade ratio in the US’es favour with it’s Australian FTA. You don’t hear Aussie’s crying that the US has taken our jobs, with their lower conditions of work and lack of health for all.

  • avatar
    Snooder

    So in other words, the Mexicans and Canadians aren’t spineless sycophants willing to bow to whatever the US demands.

    Huh, who would have thought?

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      at least half a dozen commenters here.

    • 0 avatar
      Robbie

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Snooder,
      Hopefully when Trump is done and dusted normalcy will return to the US foreign relations, it (the US) isn’t winning to many supporters around the globe at the moment and oddly I do believe the US will call on them.

      The NAFTA agreement worked for all, so what Mexico has improved it’s standard of living. Rather than Trump going after NAFTA maybe the Mexican drug cartels are doing more damage to the US than the percieved NAFTA imbalances.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    OK, rip it up. Let’s see if there’s any desire for bilateral trade agreements in two years. NAFTA doesn’t work for Mexico and Canada if there is a tariff at each border for overland shipping through the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      Mexico – Canada has this ocean thing linking them.On two coasts. Inconvenient, undesirable, but not impossible. The real question is access to the US consumer. Or, in future, other non-US consumers because screw the US.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Look it the GDP output of Canada and Mexico. Then the US. NAFTA isn’t about trade between Mexico and Canada. Whatever NAFTA construct 30 years ago morphed into both countries becoming assemblers of Chinese parts for US markets.

        MoDo mentioned Canadian BBQ manufacturer moving to Mexico, not only did jobs move south, but dropped local steel supplier as well. So Mexicans using Chinese steel fabricate, assemble and ship back to US and Canada.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Fort Wayne builds the cab, box and fenders for the 18 Sierra/ Silverado. The metal is then shipped 7 hours north to Oshawa on a 24/7 basis. Numerous suppliers from both the U.S and Canada are churning out parts. The old reworked Impala/ Consolidated line runs 18-20 hours a day with shifts scheduled for both Saturday and Sundays ..New “3rd” tier hires are punching the clock…

    90% of the finished trucks are shipped back to the USA.

    We all know its not going to last. Its a classic case of “making hay while the sun is shining”. I know squat of the mysteries of free trade . I do know that whatever we have in place now seems to be working …For now anyway ?

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Tear it up?

    Good. Do it as far as I’m concerned.

    NAFTA has been far more bad than good for everyone involved. USA and Canadian job losses my the gazillions. Mexican increased wages and living standards? Nowhere to be found. On top of that Mexico violating environmental, wage, and working conditions that would all be criminal in 1st world USA and Canada. How can you compete with that when you can go to Mexico or China or any other dump and pour any chemicals into the air and water you desire, for free!

    And at the end of the day, trade CAN be good. If the playing field is level. But you also have to realize that even in the USA or Canada you still have people on the left side of the bell curve, people who will never innovate or learn or retrain or cure cancer or run labs or any other slew of high education high tech jobs but are capable of assembling goods, driving trucks etc. You can’t ignore them either. And as far as I’m concerned I’d far rather they have work than they be on government assistance.

    It has nothing to do with screwing Mexicans or Canadians. It has everything to do with doing what is best for my fellow countrymen. Cuz all this handing out of American markets to Mexico and China has done little but screw over half of Americans.

    Free trade that isn’t free in tariffs, safety standards, and environmental standards is no free trade, and can disappear for all I’m concerned. Let’s have Mexico and China have equal standards and tariffs and then let’s see how it goes. They wanna play hard ball? Batter up. Canada and the USA will be just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      WTF do you know anything about trade and economics?

      Why does every American dumba** think that listening to talking heads and reading stuff that “sounds right” on the internet means they know what they’re talking about?

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Well James, some of us are informed and NAFTA is dead. Just waiting to stick a fork in it.

        NAFTA loophole allows Mexico and Canada to become assemblers of parts that origin in China, allowing China to circumvent US tariffs and gutted American jobs.

        Here’s a website search that can get you up to speed. Cruise through the listed post, it’s an eye opener.

        https://theconservativetreehouse.com/?s=NAFTA+&submit=Search

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          Parroting stuff that sounds good to you doesn’t make you “informed.”

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            What does make one informed Jim?

            Just about every economists got it wrong saying markets will collapse when Trump is elected. Obama said get used to 1.5% growth, under Trump its 4%, the kicker is any administration could have done what Trump did but refused to do it. He pulled trillions back from offshores tax havens, lower restrictions on energy exports, cut federal regulations, got NATO nations to pay their fair share, leveraged middleast countries to end supporting terrorist. Boxed Russian stranglehold on Europe energy dependence, the list keeps getting longer by the week.

            For the last 30 years middle class wealth of this country has been redirected to controlled markets. Multinational corporations buying production, distribution and locigistics of entire product sectors using Wall Street capital while local bank requirements prevent small businesses from fundIng their operations.

            One doesn’t need to parrot any website or listen to MSM (including FOX) to understand economic.. Build a business and pay dental bills when competition kicks you in the head. Leverage your mortgage and manage cash flow while improving your bottom line then write 40-50k checks to the IRS while your effort keeps your vendors employees paid. Then tell me again I’m a keyboard commando squawking a website.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          don’t.fit.in.cars,
          I do believe you are over stating considerably than the far right link you provided.

          So what “stuff’ comes from China. Stuff comes from all nations.

          In Australia we have “stuff” from the USA. Wow!!!

          Those jobs have been lost largely to robotics. Even the Chinese have lost over 30 million, yes 30 million manufacturing jobs to robots and automation.

          So, if the world has the same manufacturing issues as the US, why should other nation give the US their jobs?

          The US is NOT entitled to jobs. If you want the jobs compete. Placing tariffs indicates you have lost and are not competitive.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Big Al-

            So, will the EU drop their agricultural tariffs? Not likely.

            The Koreans and Japanese their automotive tariffs?

            The Canadians their dairy tariffs?

            Of course not. These are protected industries with lots of employees and lots of clout.

            In theory it means that they’re not competitive. In reality, it’s because there are people who will be affected by the potential for a lower priced competitor to put a lot of voters out of jobs.

            Honestly, I’d be fine with this argument in terms of trade with the EU/Australia/Japan/Canada: these are cultures and societies whose environmental, labor and intellectual property laws are much more tightly aligned. It’s frankly why I scratch my head at Trump’s strategy, vis a vis china: better to build a strong EU-US trade bloc than to alienate them.

      • 0 avatar
        hreardon

        JimZ –

        At the end of the day, those “American dumba**es” you talk about know two things: one, many of their jobs have disappeared; and two, the status quo ain’t helping them.

        It doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that legal, environmental and labor law arbitrage, combined with lower wages, will lead to a gutting of the manufacturing base in the US as factories move to China and Mexico.

        People get this. It’s not rocket science.

        While NAFTA succeeded in helping to reduce consumer prices, and thus help keep inflation in check, the negatives in terms of wage growth and jobs, have been abysmal for millions in our country.

        Another issue we have, that is related: whether people wish to accept it or not, the “bell curve” exists for a reason. There are a solid 60+ million American adults who fall at an 85 or lower in IQ. These are people who will not be “knowledge workers”, “creatives”, or the like. They’ll be able to assemble components on a factory line and work other reasonable low skill jobs. But they need those opportunities and we don’t have them.

        Okay, so let’s say we’ve outsourced those opportunities to Mexico and China. Fine, then we need to pay for the social support these low IQ individuals will need. There are great advantages to free trade, but great potential downsides to society as well. These have to balanced better than they are now.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @hreardon – automation has killed most manufacturing jobs not China, Mexico or {insert most hated backwater here}_____________.
          I see it in the forest resource industry. Loggers or sawmill workers can’t blame foreigners or illegals for their woes since most of our raw logs aren’t exported.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            Here is an interesting article from the IMF. Maybe some of the Trumpeteers should read this.

            Apparently many jobs are moving over to the services sector.

            It seems countries with better social policies and fairer income structures don’t have the issues like the US with it’s very low base wage.

            The study for the IMF states it’s government policy that can reduce the decline of manufacturing jobs.

            https://blogs.imf.org/2018/04/09/the-decline-in-manufacturing-jobs-not-necessarily-a-cause-for-concern/

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Lou-

            Don’t disagree that automation has driven a LOT of the shrinkage of Jobs.

            However, there’s a big difference to people when a specific process gets eliminated and a job removed, versus an entire factory packing up and moving to Mexico overnight.

            The end result may seem the same, but to the people affected by it, they’re two totally different things.

            And let’s not just limit this to manufacturing: the same is occurring in medicine (radiology outsourcing to India and Philippines), and to technology services (India, primarily).

            The whirlpool factory closes and moves to Mexico with 1500 Jobs is very different from Whirlpool automating a weld line on the same factory.

          • 0 avatar
            hreardon

            Big al-

            Yes lots of jobs moving to service sector, but a very large percentage of populace will never have IQ necessary for these jobs. Whether it’s road construcion, basic assembly, or ditch digging, these individuals need (and want) work. We have done a horrible disservice in gutting our industrial base and simultaneously telling these 60+ million people they need college degrees and yet providing them no labor opportunity to match their skill capability.

        • 0 avatar
          dont.fit.in.cars

          Absolutely nailed it on the 85 IQ. Workers at all levels fall into two types, either task complete or observation correction. What employers struggle with is task workers turnover. Some of my customers annual turnover rate is150-200%. Workers don’t show for work or if they do, believe they’re worth more than their output.

          As for automation, it’s all smoke and mirrors for small and low medium companies. Other than a vision system, a 85 IQ Tasker will always out perform a robot. The reason, small and low medium companies have multiple product lines and multiple daily production runs. Workers cost less and adapt quicker than a robot. Robots, vision systems, conveyors for product transport, safety cage add up to a 1.5-3 year ROI with no guarantee it won’t take a software dump or break down.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      Jerome
      You are correct. If environmental, health and safety are not the same as the USA. Mexico and China will have an unfair advantage.
      Example.
      1- Seen in Monterrey NL Mexico. Battery disposal. Put them in a big pile. Add 5 gallons of Gas. Set a light.
      2- Cut your finger in a US assy plant and blood drops on the car? Pull the andon. EVERYTHING STOPS In the area. Call HazMat. In mexico? Come on, do I really have to spell it out for you>?
      3- Mexico Metal casting plants. Melting furnace exhaust? Stack it thru the roof. USA foundries? The air permits levels are so low, living next to I 75 is HIGHER (true).

      It s not fair. But, Hencho and Chinacrap provide Americans with slightly cheaper products. Corporations get bigger balance sheets.

    • 0 avatar
      TDIandThen....

      Thank you JimZ.

      • 0 avatar
        MoDo

        I worked factory jobs growing up in southern and northern Ontario. They are ALL gone now. Tier 1, 2 and 3 auto – all gone. The last one I worked at made truck column shifters, I made them on gun drills tier 3, they then went to be bent and plastic coated elsewhere.

        Guys were commuting to KW from St Thomas because some huge BBQ factory they had all worked at their entire lives shut down and moved to Mexico. Should have heard those old boys chirping about NAFTA in the lunch room, boy oh boy.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit-Iron

      I agree. It would have made much more sense, if one wanted such a thing in the first place, to have a free trade agreement with Canada and the UK. At least they have comparable labor and environmental protections.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Jerome 10:

      Right on.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    some people are too young to remember this but all throughout the Bush years there was constant media coverage of how NAFTA was ruining the Mexican economy, polluting mexico’s environment, exploitation and suppression of indigenous Indians, multinationals displacing peasants from their land, kidnapping and murdering of women who worked in border town factories, poor working conditions, and so on. Does anyone think all that have been resolved?

    In year 2018 Mexico is in a much worse shape than it was in prior to NAFTA with tens of millions of its citizens having migrated and settled in the US. Yet THOU SHALL NOT TOUCH NAFTA, say the intellectuals and experts.

    LOL

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Trade negotiations take time. It will all get worked out because it is in the interest of all three nations to work it out. There is a lot of money at stake and the business people control the politicians. The original deal was made. A revised deal will be made and it is not juvenile to bargain hard over the terms. Posing and posturing are part of negotiations.

    People who despise this president, such as the author of this article and many of the commenters, are reflexively hostile to his initiatives even as they pose, Spock-like, as intellectually independent critics expressing fact-based opinions. Nevertheless, trade agreements need to be periodically revisited. This is an economic issue, and the current administration has done a nice job with the economy thus far.

    To quote idontfitincars:

    “Just about every economists got it wrong saying markets will collapse when Trump is elected. Obama said get used to 1.5% growth, under Trump its 4%, the kicker is any administration could have done what Trump did but refused to do it. He pulled trillions back from offshores tax havens, lower restrictions on energy exports, cut federal regulations, got NATO nations to pay their fair share, leveraged middleast countries to end supporting terrorist. Boxed Russian stranglehold on Europe energy dependence, the list keeps getting longer by the week.”

    True that, and then some.

    The same is true with China. They need to be confronted regarding their trade practices and criminal economic warfare activities. It will take time and there will be a cost.

    Patience is required. In the meantime, we are doing a lot better than we have been the last few years. This team seems to be pretty competent when it comes to economic issues. They have earned the benefit of the doubt on trade deals.

    • 0 avatar
      dougjp

      Yes, business people control politicians, but only in a democracy. When the democracy has become history and effectively replaced by a dictatorship, such as what has already happened in the US because nobody noticed and did anything about it, then negotiators are irrelevant and like puppets to be laughed at by the Dictator and for the populace’s diversionary entertainment.

      All this, all the Senate and House elected representatives sitting around occasionally making sounds or interviews, is just an expense with no actual purpose. Hey! Let’s sit around looking important arguing about immigration or health care, while “Mr. National Security Threat” does an unchallenged end run around all that it took over 200 years for America to develop and refine!

      Forget all that US focused history in schools, its early 30’s Germany that should be studied with a lot of urgency, to explain what has happened and why everybody seems to have been asleep at the switch.

      Good luck all. Don’t believe me, “oh it can;t be that serious!”, just watch what goes on in the coming year or less.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Holy crap, it turns out half the conservative fist-shakers on here are actually Berniecrats on trade. Maybe there is hope for common ground after all.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    It seems to me many are missing the whole NAFTA exercise. That is a multilateral agreement.

    Trump and his economic illiterates are trying to set the US up with bilateral arrangements.

    This ain’t going to work in a global world. Countries will move away gradually from the US …… oh this is already occurring.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Thats a bit rich, a guy from OZ commenting on NAFTA – are you kidding me?

      • 0 avatar
        thelaine

        Blowhard, Australia
        Blowhard is a place in the region of Victoria in Australia. Find all facts and information about Blowhard.

        Facts and figures on Blowhard at a glance
        Name: Blowhard (Blowhard)
        Status: Place
        Region name (Level 2): Ballarat North
        Region name (Level 1): Victoria
        Country: Australia
        Continent: Oceania

        Blowhard is located in the region of Victoria. Victoria’s capital Melbourne (Melbourne) is approximately 111 km / 69 mi away from Blowhard (as the crow flies). The distance from Blowhard to Australia’s capital Canberra (Canberra) is approximately 534 km / 332 mi (as the crow flies).

        Maybe also interesting: Distances from Blowhard to the largest places in Australia.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other to learn how to trust each other again and by so doing better serve the people who elected us. Stop listening to the bombastic loudmouths on the radio and television and the Internet. To hell with them. They don’t want anything done for the public good. Our incapacity is their livelihood.” – John McCain (RIP)

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      Please. Coming from a dishonest, hypocritical, bitter, jealous, condescending, egomaniac narcissist elitist who berated normal Americans to just STFU and do what they were told.

      RIP JM, and eternal thanks for your service in Vietnam.

      As for your political career, well…thank you again for your service in Vietnam.

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