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Thursday, 17 August 2017

US takes a tough stance on NAFTA negotiations as Trump disbands two business councils

US takes a tough stance on NAFTA negotiations: Talks over the North American Freetrade Agreement (NAFTA) started on Wednesday, with the US strident in its demands that the “unfair” agreement needs “major improvement.” With NAFTA being one of the rallying points of US President Donald Trump’s campaign, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer struck a belligerent tone yesterday, saying, “For countless Americans, this agreement has failed. We cannot ignore the huge trade deficits, the lost manufacturing jobs, the businesses that have closed or moved because of incentives . . . in the current agreement.” Canada and Mexico are angling to keep the agreement intact, with Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland warning that Canada is “the biggest client of the United States. Canada buys more from the US than China, the UK and Japan combined.” Reuters and the Financial Times have the story.

Also in Amreeka yesterday, The Donald disbanded two business advisory councils after multiple CEOs resigned in protest of the US president’s remarks equating white supremacist and left-wing protesters, Bloomberg says. Trump announced in a tweet that he was disbanding the councils. “President Trump found himself increasingly isolated in a racial crisis of his own making on Wednesday, abandoned by the nation’s top business executives, contradicted by military leaders and shunned by Republicans outraged by his defense of white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Va.,” the New York Times noted.

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