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article imageOp-Ed: Trump announces deal that's not quite a deal with Mexico

By Karen Graham     Aug 27, 2018 in Politics
Washington - President Donald Trump announced from the Oval Office on Monday a breakthrough on the NAFTA negotiations. The deal is actually a preliminary deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
The deal is not a separate trade agreement of the kind Trump has at times talked about as replacing the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement. It is more like a "sub-deal," About the only thing this does is reopen the talks with Canada.
Despite the progress that has been made between the two countries, the issues worked out were seen as primarily involving the two countries and did not include Canada.
On Monday, Mexico's economy minister, Ildefonso Guajardo, said that a deal was close but that there was "one more important item."
“A lot of these things imply Canada. Therefore, until we finish with the position of Canada, we will not be able to disclose the elements,” Guajardo said.
A slap in the face to Canada
Trump, in talking with Mexico's President by phone from the Oval Office, said he wants to get rid of the name, NAFTA, claiming it has bad connotations, Trump suggested the name NAFTA be changed to the "U.S.-Mexico Trade Agreement."
More to the point, he added that he "may make a separate deal with Canada, or maybe make them part of the Mexico deal." While praising Mexico and repeatedly pointing out what a pleasure it was working with the country, Trump continued to play down Canada and its role in the trade agreement.
Interestingly, Canada was so much on Trump's mind that he actually had to be reminded that he was talking about Mexico when he repeatedly said "Canada" in talking about today's announcement.
About the only thing that has come out of the talks with Mexico is that Trump can proclaim a trade victory leading into the November elections. It will allow him to brag his hard-line tactics are capable of getting results - specifically playing to farmers and the auto industry.
But Brian Kuehl, executive director of Farmers for Free Trade, said that “while any news of progress on restoring NAFTA certainty is reassuring for American farmers, there are questions that remain on the nature of a final deal."
The exact nature of the possible deal reached with Mexico is unknown at this time, and negotiators are saying they will be trying to iron out the differences this week.
"On those points, it will be necessary for Canada to rejoin the negotiations and for an agreement to be reached among all parties before a judgment can be made," Kuehl said.
It could be suggested that Trump used this announcement if you want to call it that, to take the public's attention away from his escalating political problems and Senator John McCain's funeral arrangements, which include his lying in state at the nation's Capital.
Trump is well known for using "alternative news stories" frequently when he is not the center of attention.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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