Trump Officials Draw Hard Line at Start of New NAFTA Talks

Jake Neher/WDET

The Trump Administration is set to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

President Trump has said revising the pact with Mexico and Canada could help return manufacturing jobs to the industrialized Midwest.

Administration officials say reducing the U.S. trade deficit is their top priority in crafting a new NAFTA.

President Trump has threatened to add huge tariffs onto Mexican imports, in particular, if the new talks don’t adequately address what the Administration calls a trade imbalance with NAFTA partners.

Then-candidate Trump made trade a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, wooing auto workers and others in Michigan by vowing to bring back outsourced manufacturing jobs.


Sitting at a table with the other parties telling you the only one that has been winning is you…the whole discussion will be what are they going to be extracting from you.” — Mexico Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo


Now Michigan’s U.S. senators, Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, as well as U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell, whose district includes the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company, are calling for NAFTA negotiations to be transparent and include discussions on currency manipulation.

President Trump has something of a history with Ford.

He pledged to add huge taxes onto Ford vehicles produced in Mexico and sold in the U.S. 

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Mexico Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo

But earlier this year Mexico’s economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, told executives at a meeting of the Detroit Economic Club that an ultimatum is a bad way to begin bargaining.

Sitting at a table with the other parties telling you the only one that has been winning is you, it will be very bad news for you,” he said. “Because then the whole discussion will be what they are going to be extracting from you? So it’s not very wise.”

Guajardo argues that NAFTA is not to blame for a shift in factory work.  

 Mexican officials say the U.S. is losing manufacturing jobs in areas like the Midwest because of increased automation, not outsourcing, and add that a new NAFTA must focus on issues like the rise of e-commerce.

Image credit: Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

About the Author

Quinn Klinefelter

Senior News Editor

I grab news in the morning, check the papers and the wires, call sources and take a big gulp of coffee. That’s how I start the day.  

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