Sunset for NAFTA?

Are Canada, Mexico and the United States of America even talking about the same thing? Is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) toast anyway? Does it really matter what the American negotiators propose? Lately they have been asking again for a sunset clause to the agreement. They want it to automatically expire in five years. Why are they bothering?

If nothing else, we are providing entertainment for President Trump. Are the ongoing NAFTA talks like that disappearing tree on the White House lawn? Have you ever got the impression that if all the trees ceremoniously planted on that albeit spacious lawn were still there, the White House lawn would be a veritable forest?

And why would Americans, who worship their free enterprise economy, want to guarantee concern about NAFTA every five years? Business thrives on economic stability. To threaten the trade agreement every five years would guarantee instability. What idiot dreamed up that clause?

The NAFTA negotiations seem to have become a make-work project for out-of-work republicans. And Canada’s pint-sized foreign affairs minister has been the belle of the ball. She has been leaving the heavy lifting in foreign affairs to the prime minister and he has been proving himself woefully inadequate to the task. He cannot even get an invite to the upcoming wedding at Windsor Castle.

And what is the point to NAFTA anyway if the American auto manufacturers follow some foolish strategy of killing their traditional family car business? Did you hear that they are only going to build gas-guzzling SUVs and pickup trucks in North America? They are leaving the family car business to imports from Europe and the Orient. Just what do they expect to happen when it costs over $200 to fill the gas tank of the family tank?

Judging by all the trade deals Canada has made over the past year, it is hard to say what the impact of a failed NAFTA would mean? It would certainly have a more serious impact on the U.S. than on Canada. The transitional period might be difficult but we would come out of it smarter.

It has been too much of a convenience over the past century to have friendly and compliant neighbours. We should keep them friendly but we need to rely on them less.


Copyright 2018 © Peter Lowry

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