President Trump promised tariffs while speaking on the campaign trail, but his negotiators are said to be focused on tweaking the minutia.
President Trump's bellicose campaign talk regarding the North America Free Trade Agreement has not been brought to the negotiating table, according to recent reports.
Trump repeatedly threatened to implement tariffs on vehicles and other goods that have been relocated from US factories to Mexico. The promises sparked fierce opposition in the US and Mexico. Critics argued such import penalties could have a negative impact on US trade and would likely require NAFTA to be dropped entirely.
Mexican officials are said to have calmed down now that both sides have begun to negotiate in private. Trump's envoy has not brought up tariffs, instead focusing on finer details such as country-of-origin rules or specific provisions for emerging products and services, according to an Automotive News report citing a research note published by Nomura Securities senior Latin America strategist Benito Berber
"We find the change in tone between [US Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross' comments and Trump's campaign rhetoric striking," Berber said.
LeftLane previously raised the possibility that Trump's NAFTA talk could be a simple negotiating tactic, using the threat of tariffs or an outright repeal to pressure Mexico into accepting concessions involving the trade agreement's extensive fine print.
Speaking to WHQR in a recent interview, Dr Jaime Serra, Mexico's former Minister of Trade and Industry who negotiated the original NAFTA agreement, believes the negotiations could be beneficial for the US, Mexico and Canada, but only if changes are designed to strengthen North America's collective role in global trade.
"Truly speaking, I think we would be shooting our own foot because if we introduce protectionist measures within the region, we're going to make the region less competitive," he said. "The other approach is to enhance the integration of North America and to make the region more competitive. Like, for instance, to be more competitive with China."