AM LO and NAFTA – BIG Multinational Corporate Push To Support Mexican NAFTA Position During Critical Weekend…

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the trade ministers from Canada and Mexico are not in Washington DC this weekend; however the trade staff from all three nations stayed in DC working to finalize agreement on NAFTA with increased urgency.

The nation pushing hardest to complete an agreement quickly is Mexico.  The Mexican national election is July 1st and the soft-Marxist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AM LO) has increased his lead.  AM LO is now 22 points ahead of his next closest competitor. Lopez Obrador, a self-described Hugo Chavez ideologue, is guaranteed to win – and Mexico will become Venezuela 2.0 within five years.

The looming Mexican election, and the radical political departure therein, means if a deal is not made soon, there will be no deal.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will likely nationalize large segments of the Mexican economy for more progressive wealth distribution…. Enter, quickly, and with a transparency in their desperation, the multinational corporations who have already invested hundreds of billions into Mexican ports, transportation infrastructure, raw material procurement contracts, manufacturing/processing and assembly facilities, and all around exploitation of NAFTA as a tariff-free, profit-driven, back-door to the U.S market…

Yes, as oft repeated, there are trillions at stake.

Despite the framing of the media, it is the multinational corporations driving the Mexican time-line now, not the current Mexican government or Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

The current heads of Mexican government are fully immersed in their overseas contingency operations; ie. finding safe homes and schools for their families -and their wealth- where stability can be more assured. It is the multinational corporations who cannot move their assets out of Mexico so easily – they are the ones driving the urgency behind the NAFTA talks.

MEXICO – The chief negotiators are scheduled to meet again Tuesday.

Ruiz said the three countries have agreed that the so-called sunset clause — proposed and pushed by the United States — will not automatically lead to the termination of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated every five years.

Instead, it will act as a review mechanism that allows a country to leave the agreement if it is not happy with the results, he said.

With respect to rules of origin as they apply to the automotive industry, probably the most important — and contentious — issue in the negotiations, analysts expect that the three countries will agree to set regional content levels between 70 and 75%.

That range is higher than the current 62.5% content level in order for a vehicle to qualify for tariff-free status but lower than the 85% the United States wanted.

“It’s not that Mexico has given in; what it has done in the face of the United States’ interests is to look for a formula that brings us closer to them,” Ruiz said.

The three countries have previously pledged to speed up the negotiations as much as possible to avoid clashing with domestic political processes.

However, the official campaign period for Mexico’s presidential election has already started and voters will go to the polls in 10 weeks.

On his way into a meeting yesterday, Guajardo told reporters “we are basically working very hard, but I think there’s still a lot of work to do.”

After the meeting, he said that the three countries will need to be flexible to get a new deal quickly, adding that it was unlikely an agreement that only focused on the auto industry would be announced because the aim of the talks is a wide-ranging agreement.

[…] a large business delegation will be present in the U.S. capital this weekend to support Mexico’s negotiating team.

“The whole team is flying . . . to be in Washington, we expect at least 150 to 200 business chamber representatives [to be there],” he said.  (read more)

Justice Dept Inspector General Sends Criminal Referral of Andrew McCabe to U.S. Attorney…

Multiple media outlets are now confirming the DOJ Office of Inspector General, Michael Horowitz has sent the U.S. Attorney a criminal referral over the unlawful issues which led to the firing of FBI Asst. Director Andrew McCabe.

(Via CNN) The Justice Department’s inspector general has sent a criminal referral regarding former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the US attorney’s office in Washington, according to a source familiar with the matter. A McCabe spokesperson, the Justice Department and US attorney’s office all declined to comment. (link)

In other words, Horowitz looked across the table and said: “start here John“.  The Washington Post provides more background on the referral, noting the actual submission happened “some time ago” (hint – HUBER).

(Via WaPo) The Justice Department inspector general referred its finding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe repeatedly misled investigators who were examining a media disclosure to the top federal prosecutor in D.C. to determine whether McCabe should be charged with a crime, according to people familiar with the matter.

The referral to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office occurred some time ago, after the inspector general concluded McCabe had lied to investigators or his own boss, then-FBI Director James B. Comey, on four occasions, three of them under oath. (link)


President Trump Will Hold MAGA Rally in Washington Michigan Night of WH Correspondents Dinner…

The Trump campaign has announced a MAGA rally for Saturday April 28th in Washington, MI, the same night and time as the White House Correspondent’s Dinner 07:00 pm (EST). The rally venue is Total Sports Park, and doors open at 4pm EST.

Tickets Available HERE

Total Sports Park – 65665 Powell Road, Washington, MI 48095  Doors open 4:00pm and rally start time 7:00pm.

President Trump and Vice-President Pence Host Working Lunch with PM Shinzo Abe and Japanese Delegation…

After a round of golf together earlier today President Trump joins with Vice President Mike Pence to host Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his delegation for a working lunch between close allies.  Japan is well positioned for a golden-trade-ticket. A joint press conference will follow later in the day.

No Leaks – CIA Director Mike Pompeo Met With Kim Jong-Un Over Easter…

During the Easter holiday weekend, CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to Pyongyang North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un, laying the groundwork for an upcoming summit between Kim and President Trump.  There were no leaks about the meeting.

“We’ll either have a very good meeting or we won’t have a good meeting; and maybe we won’t even have a meeting at all, depending on what’s going in. But I think that there’s a great chance to solve a world problem.”  ~ President Trump

BREAKING: Mexico Agrees To Pay for Wall – Offering Emergency Deal To Close NAFTA Tariff Loophole…

Allow me to introduce:”SUPER-MAGA-NAFTA-WINNING

This Reuters article is framed around Mexico making a surprise announcement they will support the U.S. steel tariff against China by shutting down the NAFTA back door on that specific trade segment….  However, the bigger story is Mexico’s admission/concession to the U.S. trade position that Canada and Mexico structure access to the U.S. market inside their trade deals with other nations.

With a Marxist about to win the July 1st election; and with certain nationalization of private industry soon to follow; and with free capital markets anticipating and responding by shifting investment into the U.S.; Mexico proposes to close the fatal flaw in NAFTA.

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The ministers leading the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could meet again on Thursday in Washington as they push for quick progress, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said on Monday.

Guajardo said he had spoken to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday and would talk to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday to see about agreeing a trilateral meeting in Washington on Thursday.

Speaking after meeting with steel industry executives, Guajardo also said if that the United States imposed steel tariffs, Mexico might seek to mirror the move against some countries in order to prevent them from using Mexico to elude the duties.

Teams of trade experts from the United States, Mexico and Canada have been meeting for weeks to try to narrow their differences on NAFTA, and Guajardo said a total of 10 chapters of a revised deal were now concluded or virtually settled.

But he did not expect major announcements on Thursday.  “Thursday is about starting to work through the list of issues pending. The truth is the horizon going forward is a horizon of a couple of weeks,” Guajardo told reporters.

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 an aspect of the overall cost consideration as cheaper parts and imported raw materials.

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.] That’s why this trade admission by Canada and Mexico is stunning.

[…]  U.S. President Donald Trump has driven the renegotiation of NAFTA, arguing that the deal has hollowed out American manufacturing to the advantage of lower-cost Mexico.

Trump has threatened to use other measures, such as slapping import tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum, to gain leverage over Mexico and Canada in the NAFTA talks. Both countries have been initially exempted from the tariffs.

Guajardo said that if Mexico remained exempt, the government would consider mirroring any U.S. tariffs on countries with which Mexico did not have a free trade agreement.

Otherwise Mexico could become a “back door” for Asian imports the United States wanted to discourage, Guajardo said. (read more)


That is one heck of an admission.  However, the qualifier: “on countries with which Mexico did not have a free trade agreement“… is sketchy.  Yet even within that qualifier Mexico and Canada are admitting to their exploitation; that’s a big admission.

We shall wait and see where this new development goes, because there’s no way that Trump and Lightizer are going to watch Mexico and Canada admit to what they do with Steel/Aluminum, and not demand they apply the same “mirror standard” to other aspects, industries, materials and sectors of the agreement.

By admitting to the flaw on Asian imports, Mexico is opening the negotiation door to all product sectors.  This is the FATAL FLAW we did not anticipate Mexico and Canada ever agreeing to close.

Can/Mex must really be anticipating a U.S. withdrawal, otherwise they would never make the admission public.   However, again, all of this said, it’s almost an impossible loophole to close unless Canada and Mexico agree to allow the U.S. to dictate the terms for their future bilateral trade agreements.

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.)

The issue of Canada and Mexico making trade agreements with other nations (especially China), while brokering their NAFTA access 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.  …*UNLESS* Canada and Mexico agree that U.S. trade tariff amounts will always be the floor for their own trade deals with other nations.

Kudlow Delivers Bad News to GOPe, Sasse and Donohue: TPP Talk was a “Thought, Not a Policy”…

Too funny.  The one constant in an ever-changing financial universe has been Donald Trump’s three-decade-long position on U.S. trade and Main Street economic policy.  However, despite this reality the Wall Street purchased politicians continue to think their opposition to Trump will create leverage to influence his economic views.

Last week’s example was Senator Ben Sasse and the purchased clan of BIG-AG, who demanded President Trump re-enter the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

POTUS Trump, in a transparently familiar response, told Larry Kudlow to “take a look at it.”  The GOPe immediately began backslapping, the corporate media went joyfully bananas and Lou Dobbs was mad.  CTH said relax:

Well, here’s Kudlow today:

(Bloomberg) White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow downplayed the possibility the U.S. would enter into negotiations to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, calling it more of a “thought than a policy” for now.

The U.S. is “in the pre-preliminary stages of any discussions” on rejoining the Asia-Pacific trade deal, Kudlow told reporters Tuesday during a briefing ahead of a meeting between President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Kudlow said the U.S. would like to reach a separate free-trade deal with Japan.

He added that an exception for Japan on steel and aluminum tariffs that Trump recently announced would be “on the table” during the summit with Abe. “It’s a key point on the agenda,” he said.

Kudlow added that U.S. trade negotiations with China over grievances Trump has raised against Beijing will be “very separate” from consideration of rejoining TPP. China hasn’t been part of the TPP negotiations while Japan is a member of the accord. (read more)

Sunday Talks: Nikki Haley -vs- Chris Wallace

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley appears on Fox News for an interview with the insufferable swamp gatekeeper Chris Wallace.   As customary Wallace takes whichever position is op-positional to the Trump administration.

Ambassador Haley does a good job cutting through the nonsense, especially when Wallace begins saying it is Trump policy to allow women and children to be killed, just not with chemical weapons.


Sunday Talks: Nikki Haley -vs- Margaret Brennan

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley appears on Face the Nation for an interview with Margaret Brennan about the U.S., U.K. and French coordinated military strikes against Syria.

Pentagon After Action Press Conference and Debriefing on U.S., U.K. and French Military Action…

Earlier today the Pentagon conducted a press conference to debrief media and outline the outcome of a coordinated U.S., U.K. and French military mission against elements within Syria who used chemical weapons.   U.S. General Kenneth McKenzie Jr. gives the specifics on the targets and the outcomes therein.


Per General James MattisApril 13th – Good evening.  As the world knows, the Syrian people have suffered terribly under the prolonged brutality of the Assad regime.

On April 7th, the regime decided to again defy the norms of civilized people, showing callous disregard for international law by using chemical weapons to murder women, children and other innocents.  We and our allies find these atrocities inexcusable.

As our commander in chief, the president has the authority under Article II of the Constitution to use military force overseas to defend important U.S. national interests.  The United States has an important national interest in averting a worsening catastrophe in Syria, and specifically deterring the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Last year, in response to a chemical weapons attack against civilians and to signal the regime to cease chemical weapons use, we targeted the military base from which the weapons were delivered.

Earlier today, President Trump directed the U.S. military to conduct operations, in consonance with our allies, to destroy the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons research, development and production capabilities.

Tonight, France, the United Kingdom and the United States took decisive action to strike the Syrian chemical weapons infrastructure.

Clearly, the Assad regime did not get the message last year.  This time, our allies and we have struck harder.  Together, we have sent a clear message to Assad, and his murderous lieutenants, that they should not perpetrate another chemical weapons attack for which they will be held accountable.

The 70 nations in the defeat ISIS coalition remain committed to defeating ISIS in Syria.  The strike tonight separately demonstrates international resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used on anyone, under any circumstance, in contravention of international law.

I want to emphasize that these strikes are directed at the Syrian regime.  In conducting these strikes, we have gone to great lengths to avoid civilian and foreign casualties.

But it is time for all civilized nations to urgently unite in ending the Syrian civil war by supporting the United Nations backed Geneva peace process.

In accordance with the chemical weapons convention prohibiting the use of such weapons, we urge responsible nations to condemn the Assad regime and join us in our firm resolve to prevent chemical weapons from being used again.

General Dunford will provide a military update.

Based on recent experience, we fully expect a significant disinformation campaign over the coming days by those who have aligned themselves with the Assad regime.  In an effort to maintain transparency and accuracy, my assistant for public affairs, Dana White, and Lt. Gen. McKenzie, director of the Joint Staff, will provide a brief of known details tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.  (read more)