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article imageOp-Ed: Trump tweets — Give me NAFTA deal and I'll drop tariffs

By Karen Graham     Mar 5, 2018 in Politics
U.S. President Donald Trump says Mexico and Canada would be exempted from his planned tariffs on steel and aluminum imports if they can reach a "new and fair" trade agreement with the United States.
In a pair of early morning tweets, President Trump announced: "We have large trade deficits with Mexico and Canada. NAFTA, which is under renegotiation right now, has been a bad deal for U.S.A. Massive relocation of companies & jobs. Tariffs on Steel and Aluminum will only come off if new & fair NAFTA agreement is signed."
In a second Tweet, Trump continued: "Also, Canada must.. ..treat our farmers much better. Highly restrictive. Mexico must do much more on stopping drugs from pouring into the U.S. They have not done what needs to be done. Millions of people addicted and dying."
However, as CTV News Canada is reporting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that "it just makes no sense to highlight that Canada and Canadian steel or aluminum might be a security threat to the United States."
"That's why this is absolutely unacceptable and it's a point we've made many times, that I've made directly with the president. It's one that we're going continue to engage with all levels of the U.S. administration on," Trudeau said during an event in Barrie, Ontario.
Dangling a carrot on a stick
It's getting a bit tiresome watching this president play his games with the rest of the world, keeping Americans and our allies in a constant state of confusion and chaos. And this is what he is doing with his threatened tariffs on steel and aluminum.
And this same game-plan is what he used in attempting to get funding for his "great wall.," dangling America's "dreamers" as a carrot on a stick to get his $25 million. As it turned out, four different proposals for immigration reform were defeated in the U.S. Senate, including a bipartisan effort that was agreed upon by almost 100 percent of the members.
That plan was blasted by Trump as a "total catastrophe" because his administration said it would dramatically reduce immigration enforcement, calling it "massively reckless" and brandishing the threat of a presidential veto.
A lot of good people, on both sides of the border, have been working very hard, negotiating a new NAFTA deal that is fair for Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. As a matter of fact, the three countries are wrapping up their latest rounds of talks in Mexico City this week.
And after Trump announced last week he would impose a 25 percent tariff on steel and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, the NAFTA talks ended up having to focus on what the tariffs would do to the automotive industry in the U.S. and Canadian businesses that are the major exporters of these two products into the U.S.
Peter Navarro, the White House trade advisor, told CNN on Sunday "that Trump is not planning to exempt any countries from the tariff hike," according to Voice of America. To make the administration's plan work, Navarro called it "a slippery slope" to target only some countries with increased tariffs while exempting others.
Yet on Monday, Navarro appeared on the president's flagship news channel, "Fox and Friends," defending the tariffs and arguing the public was overly upset about something that wouldn't cost much, saying there are "virtually no costs here."
"If you put a 10 percent tariff on aluminum, it's a cent and a half on a six pack of beer and it's $25,000 on a $330 million (Boeing777)," Navarro said. And there have been similar comparisons over the weekend, with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appearing on CNN holding a can of Campbell's soup he said only costs $1.00 at the 7-11, adding the cost of aluminum in the can amounted to only a couple of cents.
Quite frankly, not only is the rhetoric coming out of the White House getting tiresome, but it's downright dangerous. While Trump's advisors may say he thrives on chaos, he is not doing this country any good by keeping everyone guessing as to what he plans on doing, and that includes just about anything coming out of the West Wing.
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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