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Trump now opts to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico rather than Canada

The umpteenth turn of the nut in the American position returns to question the survival of NAFTA, one of the greatest ogres of the Republican

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Trump now opts to negotiate a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico rather than Canada

Donald Trump returned this Wednesday to reiterate his preference for trade agreements countries with country against multilateral. It is a principle that used, initially, as a threat to try to bring to its ground negotiation to revise terms of North American Free Trade Agreement (FTA), one of its biggest ogres and that it insists to liquidate after more than one year of negotiations For your upgrade. What had not been clarified by President of United States is who would want to play that game if he opted for two separate agreements: if by Canada, with whom it seemed to have more common ground in beginning, or with Mexico, a country to which it had always placed in center of Alleged evils afflicting American industry. After Mexican elections, which was forcefully imposed Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador (Brunette, left), his favorite option is second.

"We are having a very good discussion with Mexico," he pointed out on Wednesday American president before a meeting with his cabinet. "We have had very good sessions with Mexico and its new president, who won elections emphatically, we are doing very well with our trade agreement. We'll see what happens. " His words suggest that his preferred alternative today would be negotiation of a bilateral agreement with his sourn neighbor to detriment of Canada, which would be a second course. Also that trilateral negotiation, as has been so far, is in a trance of death. In markets, investors seemed to stay with most optimistic view of Trump's words, that America's overall tone toward Mexico is notably better since Lopez Obrador's victory, and peso erased losses against dollar harvested along t Oda La Jornada and quoted in green mid-afternoon Mexican time.

"We may make a separate agreement with Mexico and negotiate with Canada later," Trump added. Always with conditional ahead, president of first world power slams Ottawa, one of its most loyal historical allies, which shares not only a commercial area but a language, a culture and presence in many international fora. The Republican tycoon suggests, for first time since he arrived at White House, that a pact with sourn neighbor could serve as a model for a potential later agreement with government of Justin Trudeau, with whom positions have been increasingly moving away-enc Public Ontronazos included-over months.

So far, Canada and, above all, Mexico had unfailingly defended importance of maintaining negotiation by channels of trilateral way and not falling into temptation so often suggested by Trump to explore a bilateral path. On one hand, y both thought that numerical superiority at negotiating table could be a good way to rebalance America's absolute power. On or, both Enrique Peña Nieto and Trudeau's team were convinced that Trump's negotiating power to impose his protectionist ses was much greater in two separate negotiations than in a single working table. Perhaps with arrival of López Obrador to Mexican government, after his formal inauguration on 30 November, re is a change of mind at this point. An American delegation led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, traveled last week to Mexico to bring positions with future executive without any specific details about what was agreed beyond good general tone that presided Conversation.

The idea of Washington to take two different negotiating paths, however, is not much less new. Trump himself and his commercial representative, Robert Lighthizer, have opened door on several occasions to that option in case negotiations did not give more of mselves. But it does come partially in contradiction to what Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week in his annual speech to Congress that negotiation was once again a priority of elections in Mexico, and with still Mexican economy owner, Ildefonso Guajardo, who next week will travel to U.S. capital to advance process and that Wednesday has underlined that high-level trilateral talks resume on 26th.

"Trump thinks he can end up faster with Mexico than with Canada. It's a way to put more pressure on Trudeau and send positive news to his constituents. After what happened with Russia last week, you need to show that re is something good in your agenda, "says Luis de la Calle, a member of Mexican negotiating team that achieved 1994 FTA, while remembering that only way that conversation becomes bilateral is that EE America announces its exit from Treaty, something that would have "a high cost" for three countries. "It's just not viable, it's not good for anyone," he concludes.

"For Mexico, a bilateral agreement is better than nothing, but trilateral is still best option possible. The interlocutor you have in front [Trump] has been very clear in his criticism of FTA and I think most responsible would be to sit down to talk, "says Luz Maria de la Mora, former head of international negotiations unit of Mexican Ministry of Economy. Ignacio Bartesaghi, dean of Faculty of Business of Catholic University of Uruguay and one of largest specialists in international trade Affairs of subcontinent, believes that "at this stage of party" seems more reasonable a bilateral agreement than a regional one. "Mexico did well for a time involving Canada to gain time, but perhaps now, seeing that Trump is serious about ir threats, it's time to close an agreement as quickly as possible. With Trump today you have to be pragmatic. " In a hypotical bilateral scenario, stresses Bartesaghi, Canadian side would be worst stop. "But I am concerned that America may have more leeway to impose its extremist clauses," he concludes.

The negotiation to modernize FTA started in August last year. The initial idea was to have completed m before finishing 2017, but ir progress, much slower than expected, has been delayed until today. The idea is that transition team of López Obrador, with negotiator Jesús Seade in lead, participates in commercial conversations that happen from now on. The great doubt, according to Trump's words, is wher y will follow in ir current format or wher new approximations will be already bilateral.

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