Word from behind the scenes, and off-the-record, finds several insiders with the opinion that the decision by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce lobbying group to conflict with President Trump and the U.S. trade team has backfired.
U.S. CoC President Tom Donohue made the decision to align in common cause with Canada and Mexico, against the interests of the U.S., and go public with his attacks against the U.S. negotiating team, the administration and President Trump personally.
Following the confrontational approach by the largest DC lobbying group, the U.S. team asked Canada to take their protectionist trade restrictions off the Dairy and Poultry sectors. Canada was adamant they will never leave their agriculture unprotected, and rejected any consideration of open trade discussion toward those sectors.
The U.S. is standing firm on three elements that Mexico and Canada are dead-set against:
- A proposal that NAFTA be revisited every 5 years with measured way-points to ensure equity in trade position along with updates, if needed, to fast changing sectors.
- A proposal to change the rules of origin to ensure that around 70% of automotive parts used in manufacturing actually come from inside the three-nation trade block (not Asia). Currently most cars built in Mexico, sent to the U.S., use Chinese parts.
- A proposal that U.S. companies have preferential treatment for U.S. government taxpayer contracts. This keeps U.S. government stimulus spending inside the U.S. economy. [Canada and Mexico want access to U.S. contracts and U.S. taxpayers expenditures to expand their own economy.]
Canada and Mexico have stated their joint intention to use the DC lobbying groups, including the U.S Chamber of Commerce, to purchase American politicians, block the U.S. trade proposals and increase pressure on President Trump to comply with their demands.
Apparently this CanaMex hostile approach -and alignment with Tom Donohue- does not sit well with President Trump. It should be noted that Chamber President Tom Donohue and Mitch McConnell are best friends and the majority of McConnell’s incumbent campaign funds comes directly from Donohue.
VIA REUTERS – U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland are scheduled to meet and take stock of the negotiations before issuing statements at a joint event at 3 p.m. (1900 GMT). They later plan to separately brief media.(link)