Mexico says called Trump's bluff when he eyed NAFTA exit

  • Mexico says called Trump's bluff when he eyed NAFTA exit

Mexico says called Trump's bluff when he eyed NAFTA exit

"I don't have a crystal ball so I'm not going to predict the speed at which the negotiations will advance", Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Thursday night in a conference call from Alaska.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved Robert Lighthizer, Trump's nominee for U.S. Trade Representative, allowing the president to trigger the process for opening NAFTA for revision.

The report also added the Trump administration may also move its attention towards the Seoul-Washington free trade agreement in the near future.

"AIA congratulates Ambassador Lighthizer on his confirmation as United States Trade Representative". Lighthizer noted that "conservative statesmen from Alexander Hamilton to Ronald Reagan sometimes supported protectionism".

One source familiar with the thinking of both governments offered a theory for what's happening: Trump wanted to take credit, before his 100th day in office, for forcing Canada and Mexico into a renegotiation.

He says Lighthizer's first priority should be maintaining the gains USA agriculture has made with NAFTA as that deal is renegotiated. Although Navarro and Ross have made the rounds on Capitol Hill, the White House has yet to provide the required 90-day notice to Congress before the USA can begin renegotiations on NAFTA.

Lighthizer was picked by Trump as the trade representative on January 3.

Trump, following through on an "America first" campaign pledge, abandoned the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in January. But he and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross were reluctant to start it without Lighthizer.

Trucks wait in the queue for border customs control to cross into the the World Trade Bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico on November 2, 2016.

Trump has taken issue with the United States' trade deficits with such countries as China and Japan, while maintaining that the USA dollar has strengthened too much against some currencies. They expect him to pursue a harder line on what he sees as predatory trade behavior, particularly by China, but to avoid upending the global free trade order.

Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee and voted in favour of Mr Lighthizer's nomination, also urged the incoming trade representative not to put at risk the gains Nafta had brought. Cory Gardner wasn't among them.

But China has become an increasingly important trade partner for Mexico because of its massive consumer market, he said, citing rising exports of avocado, Tequila and berries.