National Newswatch

NAFTA 2.0: Talks paused as progress slows

Apr 28 2018 — Peter Clark — After saying they were planning to push for a final deal, NAFTA ministers are taking off for a week while U.S. Trade Repesentative Robert Lighthizer jets off to China to put out another fire from the torch master in the White House. The NAFTA trio will get back together on May 7 or so. The […]

Playing Chicken with NAFTA 2.0: Who blinks first?

Apr 25 2018 — Peter Clark — The weather in Washington yesterday was gloomy. The mood of the NAFTA re-negotiations was even gloomier. Ministers from the U.S., Mexico and Canada have reconvened projecting optimism, but most of the people doing the actual negotiation believe the political exuberance is misplaced and optimistic. Many in Washington muse that the deal in principle would be […]

Is Steel the New Textiles?

Mar 28 2018 — Peter Clark — International trade took a great leap backwards with Agreement in Principle to KORUS 2.0. Korea has accepted an (in)voluntary export restraint which rolls back its steel exports by 30% of the average 2015-2017 level. The KORUS Agreement and Lighthizer’s recent statements suggest a return to Voluntary Export Restraints (VERs) as his weapon of choice to reduce […]

Trudeau must avoid looking wimpy responding to Trump’s trade follies

Mar 4 2018 — Peter Clark — Punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are looming. That’s just a fact. The questions are: will President Donald Trump choose to walk back his promises; and will he exclude his NAFTA partners? U.S. steelworkers have been waiting for decades for a President to do what this POTUS is doing. Their positive reaction ensures the […]

U.S. heads toward dangerous waters with steel and aluminum duties

Mar 2 2018 — Peter Clark — How real is the chatter about pressure on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to compromise in order to conclude the NAFTA renegotiation talks? Not enough to make him easier to deal with. Lighthizer is charged with negotiating a great deal. Neither Canada nor Mexico seems willing to sing from his song book, so he will […]

Boeing’s humiliating loss opens new front in trade battle

Jan 26 2018 — Peter Clark — Surprise, surprise to everyone other than Bombardier’s legal advisors who were convinced Boeing could not meet the injury test. The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) got it right. There was no nexus between Bombardier’s sale to Delta and the injury claimed by Boeing. It was perplexing how an aircraft producer with a six- to eight-year […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Is Hope a Sound Negotiating Strategy?

Nov 21 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – Why have I put the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations on Deathwatch? Why not wait a bit longer? Passage of tax legislation may change the negotiating environment. Congress is on our side. Why declare a Deathwatch? From the outset Canada’s and Mexico’s best option was to hope for the best and prepare for the […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Is Hope a Sound Negotiating Strategy?

Nov 21 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – Why have I put the NAFTA 2.0 negotiations on Deathwatch? Why not wait a bit longer? Passage of tax legislation may change the negotiating environment. Congress is on our side. Why declare a Deathwatch? From the outset Canada’s and Mexico’s best option was to hope for the best and prepare for the […]

NAFTA 2.0 – The negotiators are not playing pinochle

Nov 20 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – It is very misleading to describe Round Five of the NAFTA 2.0 rebalancing negotiations in Mexico City as quiet or slow. The TV camera ambush at the bottom of the stairs from the main negotiating floor was abandoned for much of Sunday. They are back at their posts but how often does […]

NAFTA 2.0 – The negotiators are not playing pinochle

Nov 20 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – It is very misleading to describe Round Five of the NAFTA 2.0 rebalancing negotiations in Mexico City as quiet or slow. The TV camera ambush at the bottom of the stairs from the main negotiating floor was abandoned for much of Sunday. They are back at their posts but how often does the […]

NAFTA 2.0: Poison Ivy and Silver Bullets

Nov 19 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – Round Five of the NAFTA re-balancing negotiations has launched in Mexico City. Don’t hold your breath waiting for significant breakthroughs. The talks are bogged down in poison pills and inflexibility. The battleground moved last week to Da Nang, Vietnam, a venue which has been conflict free for more than 40 years from what […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Deathwatch: Counting the days

Nov 18 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – Ambassador Robert Lighthizer added some spice to an otherwise boring Day 1 of Round Five by filing an updated report to Congress on the Administration’s negotiating objectives for NAFTA 2.0. There is not much change from the July 17, 2017 report which we analyzed here. The negotiations on Procurement and Automotive Rules […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Deathwatch: Counting the days

Nov 18 2017 — Peter Clark — MEXICO CITY – Ambassador Robert Lighthizer added some spice to an otherwise boring Day 1 of Round Five by filing an updated report to Congress on the Administration’s negotiating objectives for NAFTA 2.0. There is not much change from the July 17, 2017 report which we analyzed here. The negotiations on Procurement and Automotive Rules of Origin […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Don’t Drink the Kool Aid

Nov 2 2017 — Peter Clark — The NAFTA 2.0 re-negotiations are like meat in a shark tank. The doomsayers are flocking to print, TV studios and to their pulpits. But recent developments should not be surprising. The U.S. NAFTA re-balancing effort was in trouble from Day One. On January 23, 2017, I wrote: “We must hope for the best and prepare […]

NAFTA 2.0 – Don’t Drink the Kool Aid

Nov 2 2017 — Peter Clark — The NAFTA 2.0 re-negotiations are like meat in a shark tank. The doomsayers are flocking to print, TV studios and to their pulpits. But recent developments should not be surprising. The U.S. NAFTA re-balancing effort was in trouble from Day One. On January 23, 2017, I wrote: “We must hope for the best and prepare for […]