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Q&A with Eric Farnsworth: What's at Stake in NAFTA Talks?

Robert Lighthizer, Chrystia Freeland, Ildefonso Guajardo

U.S., Canadian, and Mexican NAFTA negotiators. (Image: AP)

August 28, 2017

From Trump tweets to trade terms, @ericfarns covers NAFTA sticking points in a Q&A with @NathanielParish:

Over the last few days Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to cancel the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). His comments come in the midst of the early stages of efforts by Canada, the U.S., and Mexico to discuss ways to improve the agreement. On the morning of Sunday August 27 Trump tweeted out that with NAFTA being "the worst trade deal ever made," his administration "may have to terminate." A few minutes earlier Trump also tweeted, "With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, me must have the wall Mexico will pay for it." While some observers are still confident that it will be possible to update and even improve the trade deal, Donald Trump´s recent comments have become an unfortunate and untimely distraction. Trade relations between Mexico and the US have become increasingly important to major manufacturers such as Ford, General Motors, and GE as well as to retailers such as Wal-Mart and Amazon. To get a sense of what is at stake with the future of NAFTA I reached out to Eric Farnsworth, the Vice President of the Council of the Americas, a Washington D.C. based think-tank.

Nathaniel Parish Flannery: As the trade talks begin between the three NAFTA partners how much distance does there seem to be between the goals of the participants?

Eric Farnsworth: The President´s renewed tweeting about NAFTA threatens to upend negotiations that began in Washington on August 16. The key question concerns whether the United States is ultimately looking for a modernized, updated agreement overall or, for political purposes, will insist on terms that the leaders of Canada and Mexico may find political impossible to accept...

Read the full Q&A at