I disagree with most media and political pundits that believe Trump is unpredictable. He campaigned on America first which includes being tough on illegal immigration and ripping up NAFTA. His voting base believes that these two issues are responsible for low wages and poor job opportunities in the United States.
It was obvious to me that the U.S. government shutdown was caused by Trump who set the March 5th deadline for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). He is using Dreamers as a bargaining chip to get funding for more border security and for his idiotic wall. Eighty per cent of Americans don’t want Dreamers to be deported. If Trump really cared, he would have informed the House of Representatives to draft a by partisan bill to solely deal with DACA.
In my humble opinion, Trump is just looking for an excuse to rip up NAFTA. Donald Trump’s protectionist leanings have been obvious since before the U.S. presidential election. U.S. negotiators are showing few signs of backing down from unrealistic demands on automotive content rules, the chapter 19 dispute mechanism and a five-year sunset clause that have left NAFTA teetering on the brink.
Canada and Mexico have rejected most of the U.S. proposals for NAFTA reforms, leaving officials with a big job if they are to bridge the large differences in Montreal. Negotiations are due to wrap up at the end of March.
Protectionist moves as U.S. imposes tariffs on the following imports
- Softwood lumber (Canada)
- C-series planes (Canada)
- Pulp & Paper (Canada)
- Washing machines (South Korea)
- Solar cells & modules (China)
Canada is firing back by bringing a trade complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) despite the fact that the president has been particularly critical of the WTO and its system for dispute settlement.
A former U.S. trade representative says he’s hoping that a recent wide-ranging trade complaint launched by the Canadian government against the United States won’t “end up blowing up in their face” at the NAFTA negotiating table.
Adding more fuel to the fire, Canada has agreed to a resurrected a version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and will sign on to the deal. The deal, renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, comes after talks in Japan this week with the 11 countries (including Mexico) that are still committed to the deal.
“We are happy to confirm the achievement of a significant outcome on culture as well as an improved arrangement on autos with Japan, along with the suspension of many intellectual property provisions of concern to Canadian stakeholders,” said International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne in a statement.
Will these moves strengthen Canada’s position at the negotiation table with the United States or will it force Trump to play his withdrawal card?
My bet is that picking a fight with Trump will result in him sending a NAFTA withdrawal letter to both Canada & Mexico which will cause a stock market correction. In my humble opinion, it is only a question of when!