NAFTA will be renegotiated. But, Tim Harper writes, the negotiations will not be a disaster:
Robert Lighthizer [Donald Trump's Trade Representative] released his 18-page list of priorities for coming NAFTA negotiations, and there was none of that lightning and thunder. Reaction from Ottawa and Canadian trade experts was a polite smile and a readiness to get to the table.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had already laid out Ottawa’s low-key resolve in his pre-NAFTA speech to U.S. governors in Rhode Island: “While you, my American friends, may be an elephant, Canada is no mouse. More like a moose. Strong and peaceable, but still massively outweighed. So we have to work harder to make our points.”When formal NAFTA talks begin next month, Canadians, Americans and Mexicans will largely tune out until there is drama. And, make no mistake, any negotiations involving Trump will inevitably include drama.
At some point in the negotiations, Trump will become loud and bombastic -- because that's what he does. But it's Congress that holds the cards:
Although Trudeau has been at great pains to reject any claim that the Canadian “strategy” is to go around Trump, the trade agenda will be driven by the U.S. Congress, not the president.It is also a Congress which can read poll numbers — one this week showed Trump with a 55-per-cent disapproval rating — with the U.S. midterms just over the next hill.
And, as the failure of Trumpcare proves, even though the Republicans control all three branches of government, Trump is Colonel Blimp -- full of hot air but not someone they respect.
Of course, someone else could throw a spanner into the works. Who knows? Stay tuned.
Image: CNN Money