The first thing Canadians should do is stop sweating over renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It has never been a really fair deal and it became overly complicated when Mexico joined. Given the opportunity to renegotiate, Canada could improve its position. The only problem is that we would never get to negotiate with Donald Trump. He has shown often enough that he has no understanding of the deal.
Where we erred in the first negotiation of NAFTA was when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney pulled our civil servant negotiators. Mulroney was frustrated by the delays and replaced the experienced negotiators with politicians who lacked the background and negotiating skills. Since then, we have spent enough time just arguing over soft-wood lumber to renegotiate the NAFTA deal three times over.
To suggest that Trump knows about negotiating because he has a book out over his name called ‘The Art of the Deal’ is a laugh in itself. Anyone who believes that should be forced to read the book. The reality is that Trump’s style of negotiating is nothing more than bullying, braggadocio and B.S.
What Trump and maybe Trudeau seem to fail to understand is that since the Auto Pact in the 1960s and the two versions of NAFTA, North America has become a single, tightly integrated economy. Nobody should be so stupid as to suggest closing any borders. Any precipitous action by any of the three countries could actually bankrupt one or several major automobile makers. They are hardly kidding when they say that many auto parts and assemblies cross borders multiple times in the manufacturing process.
Those states in America that are following Trump’s lead and proposing Buy America laws are in for a surprise when they find their laws in conflict with federal laws to the contrary. It would take Congress a long time to change the country into the bellicose backwater it will become if it does not take America’s world role more seriously.
We are constantly amazed by the utter ignorance of President Donald Trump. He might not be quite as stupid as former president George W. Bush and we do appreciate that sometimes ignorance can be cured. Stupid, as displayed in the 1994 movie, Forrest Gump, usually lasts a lifetime. And is rarely funny.
But we can assure you that in terms of NAFTA, it would take at least two lifetimes to disassemble.
Copyright 2017 © Peter Lowry
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