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Delivering on Promises
Trump’s First Moves: Trade

President Donald Trump will try to make good on his main campaign promise this week by taking several big swings at trade issues. First up on the chopping block: Obama’s signature Pacific trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership. CNN:

President Donald Trump on Monday will unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as two sources familiar with the matter told CNN he plans to sign an executive order to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Later this week, talks are scheduled between senior U.S. officials and representatives from Canada and Mexico, and Trump himself is set to meet Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on January 31. The main subject of discussion: NAFTA and border security. Reports from Reuters make it sound like his interlocutors are not exactly prepared for the negotiations. One report:

Critics of Pena Nieto say he lacks a clear plan to counter Trump’s calls to limit trade and deport illegal immigrants. Trump has said little about what improvements he wants, apart from halting the migration of U.S. factories and jobs to Mexico.

Another:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto agreed in a phone call with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday to join forces to encourage economic integration in North America, according to a statement from Peña Nieto’s office. […]

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement among Mexico, the United States and Canada, and would move to withdraw if no “fair deal” is forthcoming, according to the White House website.

It’s hard to tell for sure from such sketchy reports, but it looks like the discussions could be rough.

And finally, Theresa May is set to meet with Trump in order to start discussing a bilateral trade deal between the United States and the UK. The Times of London:

Theresa May will offer Donald Trump a “grand bargain” on trade and security this week and invite him to come to Britain later this year and meet the Queen.

The prime minister is due to see Trump in Washington on Friday, becoming the first foreign leader to visit the White House since he became America’s 45th president.

She will use the meeting to kickstart talks on a free trade deal in exchange for British help to force Nato countries to pay for their own defence. She said that she “won’t be afraid” to challenge Trump’s views if she considers them “unacceptable”.

It’s interesting that May will be trying to talk up NATO, an institution Trump notably dismissed as “obsolete” in an interview with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild last week. Everyone in Europe is sure to be carefully parsing the results of that summit on various levels.

One gets the sense that the world has not yet fully wrapped its head around what a Trump Presidency will mean. If that is in fact true, Trump’s determination to come charging out of the gate may pay some early dividends.

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  • Beauceron

    “One gets the sense that the world has not yet fully wrapped its head around what a Trump Presidency will mean.”

    Of course they haven’t.

    In case it escaped your notice, the Left is busy constructing a false narrative that Trump is a fascist bent on instituting an American Reich. In short, they’re busy building up Trump as the nastiest of things to justify all the nasty things they’d like to do to the rest of us, depolorables that we are. There’s really no time for thoughtful realism about what Trump will or won’t do. We’re living under a brutal dictatorship after all. It’s an emergency.

    • FriendlyGoat

      There is and will be lots of “time for thoughtful realism about what Trump will or won’t do”. The details of the screw-ever will be apparent every time the GOP Congress and Trump complete an action together. Stand by and stay tuned in. When the details finally appear, they will have effects that half the Trump voters did not vote for.

      • CapitalHawk

        “When the details finally appear, they will have effects that half the Trump voters did not vote for.” So, you’re saying that it will be business as usual? I’m sure that half of the Obama voters didn’t get what they voted for either.

  • Disappeared4x

    The U.S. Senate vote on Tillerson for SecState will show how head unwrapping threatens The Narrative. Mr. Tillerson is the very human, normal face of ExxonMobil, a previously faceless corporation which has been Public Enemy #1 for climate change activists.

    The true fact that Tillerson’s experience DOES make him qualified is meaningless in The credentialNarrative, which specifies only Harvard/Yale lawyers with experience in government and/or think tanks are ‘qualified’.

    Watch heads exploding, before they can be unwrapped, from the 2014 UK film, “Kingsman”, where a spy organization recruits an unrefined, but promising street kid (omg! wrong credentials!)
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/504fba3528745e43c084c6f31ca56fd0f92129490cf30ad5f9c1b5521ec4c9a5.jpg

  • Jim__L

    “It’s interesting that May will be trying to talk up NATO, an
    institution Trump notably dismissed as “obsolete” in an interview with
    the Times of London and Germany’s Bild last week.”

    It’s obsolete because the rest of the allies aren’t paying their share.

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the treaty dynamic when the rest ARE paying their fair share — they’re influence may become proportional to their contribution, which is only fair.

  • RedWell

    Trump is right that we need some change and renewal on these arrangements, but I suspect his profound ignorance on these issues will mean that we end up with basically similar outcomes. Indeed, while Trump is busy upsetting apple carts with our partners, it’s not hard to imagine trade competitors like China carrying the day as the more reliable partner more invested in international trade and growth.
    They don’t need to wrap their minds around Trump if he creates early instability with no clear long-term agenda. They just need to take advantage of the situation.

  • Eurydice

    Diacussions are always rough when people are faced with fundamental questions.

  • Dhako

    I do not know whether Mr Trump knows it or not. But effective immediately, he ended the US’s preponderance in Technological advantage in Pacific-rim States. Which means, as he tries to restrict free trade between the US and the pacific-Rim states, will simply mean the ferocious appetite of these states for high-tech consumer durable will simply be given on a platter to Chinese high-tech behemoths. In other words, all China needs to do is sit back and allow these states to beat a path to her, since their growth was always predicated in middle-class consumers gobbling up high-tech gadgets.

    And, since, the US’s companies are now going to be looking over their shoulder from Trump’s White-House, this in turn will simply mean these Pacific-Rim States, will be competing against each other just to “offer” a good deal of free trade agreement to China, just to keep growing their middle class consumers, and with it, their national growth projections. This is what is known in UK’s the match-of-the-day commentary, as an “Own Goal” by a team of hapless lads, who has as much “footballing sophistication” as your five-a-side-pub-team. But I am sure out there in the Rust-Belt regions of Ohio or Pennsylvania, this sort of “head-scratching-decision” will come across to the “ill-educated-White-Working-Class-Plebeians” in those regions, as if Mr Trump has embark on his journey to make America great again.

    • Eurydice

      If one was to believe Hillary Clinton, she would have made the same decision.

    • CapitalHawk

      If this is such a great deal for China, why is a Chinese propaganda officer telling us why it is so bad for America? I would expect agents of China to shut up and let the US shoot itself in the foot.

      Unless, perhaps, maybe…it’s not such a great deal for China…

  • AriTai

    Strange, people still think that draining the swamp means th epoliticl circle jerk between parties ,pork elections, more pork, larger rice bowl larger transfer of funds to Norrthern VA from everywhere, when Mr. T. and gen Mattis end the defense industrial complex per Eisenhower, Add to fearful nightmares of being the snake that ate and corrupted everything, Mattis will have a small force that Caesar will recognize, Mattis proud to lead, wuth its soldiers well equipped and trained and proud to be led by Mattis were every soldier knows their contribution makes the difference between winning and loosing, and valorous behavior guaranteeing advancement thru all the seat warmer seats now empty where the fighter is well rewarded and their families assured a great future in sickness and in health, the most feared fighting force in the world once the fact that everyone has WMDs eliminates any possibility of land invasion to sieze land or assets zerom stabd bacj isis, treaty what treat? don’t get in our way or suffer the consqueces, treaty or not.. All good fun. In our lifetime. Of such things are balanced budgets and debt reduction born, maybe to zero.

    • CapitalHawk

      lol wut?

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