Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland begin a U.S. media grievance tour to frame a narrative around the recent Steel and Aluminum tariffs.
The Canadian duo intentionally conflate a U.S. objective to secure the Steel and Aluminum industrial base into a narrative that the U.S. is targeting Canada as a security threat. Despite this shamefully obtuse argument the majority of Canadians and the vast majority of Americans can see right through this nonsense. Trudeau and Freeland should be ashamed (but they won’t be), watch:
Canada and Mexico have both structured their international trade deals around their ability to provide access to the coveted $20 trillion U.S. market. Rather than fix the fatal flaw in NAFTA, which would cost them billions, both nations have doubled down with demands that their dependency model be allowed to continue. They are both about to discover the catastrophic consequences to that decision. Their economic losses will now be exponentially larger as an outcome of their entrenched ideology.
Unfortunately for the politically-minded Justin Trudeau and Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland what they both don’t understand is that President Trump doesn’t care about their delicate sensibilities and blame-casting maneuvers. POTUS Trump was elected specifically because he doesn’t apply a political prism in front of economic or national security decisions.
NAFTA is dead, all three countries know it, and the aspect that both Canada and Mexico have only recently become aware of is Trump is in no rush to announce it. President Trump is in no rush to announce it because the effects of withdrawal are already well underway. Investors are not going to invest in Canada and Mexico while the looming uncertainty of a U.S. NAFTA exit looms in the air.
What PM Trudeau doesn’t mention [nor FM Chrystia Freeland ] is that U.S. steel is actually U.S. auto-sector steel being shipped just across the border to be used in U.S. owned manufacturing plants in Canada. Take that away and the entire steel narrative is lost. [Steel Statistics]
Canada doesn’t make much steel and aluminum, because the Trudeau-minded do-gooder environmentalists in Canada have killed off their heavy manufacturing industrial base. Which is exactly what President Trump is attempting to ensure doesn’t happen in the United States.
Learn more about World Steel Production Here
The essential problem with NAFTA was an evolution over time. In its current form NAFTA became an exploited doorway into the coveted U.S. market. Asian economic interests, large multinational corporations, invested in Mexico and Canada as a way to work around any direct trade deals with the U.S.
By shipping parts to Mexico and/or Canada; and by deploying satellite manufacturing and assembly facilities in Canada and/or Mexico; China, Asia and to a lesser extent EU corporations exploited a loophole. Through a process of building, assembling or manufacturing their products in Mexico/Canada those foreign corporations can skirt U.S. trade tariffs and direct U.S. trade agreements. The finished foreign products entered the U.S. under NAFTA rules.
Why deal with the U.S. when you can just deal with Mexico, and use NAFTA rules to ship your product directly into the U.S. market?
This exploitative approach, a backdoor to the U.S. market, was the primary reason for massive foreign investment in Canada and Mexico; it was also the primary reason why candidate Donald Trump, now President Donald Trump, wanted to shut down that loophole and renegotiate NAFTA.
This loophole was the primary reason for U.S. manufacturers to relocate operations to Mexico. Corporations within the U.S. Auto-Sector could enhance profits by building in Mexico or Canada using parts imported from Asia/China. The labor factor was not as big a part of the overall cost consideration as cheaper parts and imported raw materials.
If you understand the reason why U.S. companies benefited from those moves, you can begin to understand if the U.S. was going to remain inside NAFTA President Trump would have remained engaged in TPP.
As soon as President Trump withdrew from TPP the problem with the Canada and Mexico loophole grew. All corporations from TPP nations would now have an option to exploit the same NAFTA loophole.
Why ship directly to the U.S., or manufacturer inside the U.S., when you could just assemble in Mexico and Canada and use NAFTA to bring your products to the ultimate goal, the massive U.S. market?
From the POTUS Trump position, NAFTA always came down to two options:
Option #1 – renegotiate the NAFTA trade agreement to eliminate the loopholes. That would require Canada and Mexico to agree to very specific rules put into the agreement by the U.S. that would remove the ability of third-party nations to exploit the current trade loophole. Essentially the U.S. rules would be structured around removing any profit motive with regard to building in Canada or Mexico and shipping into the U.S.
Canada and Mexico would have to agree to those rules; the goal of the rules would be to stop third-party nations from exploiting NAFTA. The problem in this option is the exploitation of NAFTA currently benefits Canada and Mexico. It is against their interests to remove it. Knowing it was against their interests President Trump never thought it was likely Canada or Mexico would ever agree. But he was willing to explore and find out.
Option #2 – Exit NAFTA. And subsequently deal with Canada and Mexico individually with structured trade agreements about their imports. Canada and Mexico could do as they please, but each U.S. bi-lateral trade agreement would be written with language removing the aforementioned cost-benefit-analysis to third-party countries (same as in option #1.)
All nuanced trade-sector issues put aside, the larger issue was always how third-party nations will seek to gain access to the U.S. market through Canada and Mexico. [It is the NAFTA exploitation loophole which has severely damaged the U.S. manufacturing base.]
Unfortunately, the U.S. CoC, funded by massive multinational corporations, is spending hundreds of millions on lobbying congress to keep the NAFTA loophole open.
The U.S. has to look upstream, deep into the trade agreements made by Mexico and Canada with third-parties, because it is possible for other nations to skirt direct trade with the U.S. and move their products through Canada and Mexico into the U.S.
The issue of Canada and Mexico making trade agreements with other nations (especially China), while brokering their NAFTA position with the U.S. as a strategic part of those agreements, is a serious issue that cannot adequately be resolved while the U.S. remains connected to NAFTA.
The auto-sector is much more than just complete assembled vehicles. In many ways the core trade issues: part origination, manufacturing and assembly of multiple durable goods sectors, are represented within the auto industry process.
In essence, the auto-sector is representative of much of the manufacturing exploitation by multinational corporations beyond vehicle production. China has supported this approach because they produce the components for multiple sectors (furniture, appliances etc).
So you see, if you just look at the pure economics of the options, and you remember that President Trump is constitutionally antithetical to anyone having influence over U.S. interests other than the American people inside the United States, you can clearly see there is only one-way this entire process ends.
President Trump will end NAFTA.
Withdrawal is not a matter of “if“, it is simply a matter of “when”.
The economic reality drives the “if”, the political reality drives the “when”.
POTUS Trump knows the multinational corporations and multinational banks will trigger their CoC purchased politicians in Washington DC as soon as Trump announces. The GOPe Republicans and Corporatist Democrats will launch everything they have against him in a public relations effort to stop the exit. There are trillions at stake.
As the tax reform benefits gain a foothold, American workers are realizing they are getting more money in their paychecks; and as the U.S. economy continues to gain momentum, that’s the backdrop for President Trump making the announcement.
Remember, when the U.S. team leaves NAFTA, the generally accepted hit to the U.S. stock market will be around 10%. This is due to Wall Street multinational corporations being the largest benefactors of the current status.
If Wall Street multinationals lose the NAFTA loophole benefit, they will initially make less profit until they reposition their investment assets according to the new trade structure.
However, in the past year more companies have shifted capital in preparation for the possibility of NAFTA being fundamentally restructured. So the ramifications are less now than they were mid-year 2017. In 2018 this overall NAFTA exit possibility is more ‘factored-in’ to the overall market valuation than it was in 2017. We saw this on June 1st when the Steel and Aluminum tariffs went into effect and the stock market barely moved.
It is common sense that Wall Street having been the biggest benefactor of NAFTA, will stand to lose the most in any NAFTA restructuring. Conversely, Main Street was the biggest loser in NAFTA, and Main Street will stand to gain the most from NAFTA restructuring which creates equity in trade opportunity.
That ‘America-First’ approach is one of the cornerstones of MAGAnomics.