Category Archives: The Economy

Donald Trump could screw American farmers….

I don’t thing City slicker Donald Trump has any idea that US farmers help feed the WORLD…..

Not just America….

Export/Import protectist taxes would ruin their livelihoods ….

U.S. farmers need exports to keep already low commodity prices at home from collapsing. Gluts have pushed down corn prices to less than half their 2012 peak, and farmer profits may fall for the fourth straight year, the longest streak since the 1970s, the government said on Feb. 7.

That’s why U.S. farmers have backed trade deals such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which promised an additional $4 billion to $5 billion of sales by opening Pacific Rim nations to U.S. meat, dairy, and grain. But pulling out of the TPP was one of Trump’s first acts as president. He’s also threatening to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Both moves stoke worries that attempts to protect manufacturing could harm farmers, with countries such as China retaliating against taxes on finished goods exported to the U.S. by buying commodities elsewhere, says Ed Schafer, who served as agriculture secretary under President George W. Bush. “Trade issues are not as simplistic as President Trump thinks,” he says.

Bob Young, chief economist for the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest U.S. farmers group, rattles off a series of competitors ready to eat the U.S.’s lunch: Brazil and Argentina in global corn and soybean markets; Ukraine and Russia in grain and oilseeds; Australia and New Zealand in meat and dairy.

Australia is still pushing for a TPP without the U.S., to lock in potential trade gains in Asia. Europe is buying more Ukrainian corn, enjoying lower tariffs that squeeze out U.S. suppliers who had hoped to gain from a European Union trade deal. Brazil and Argentina are becoming the first choice for Chinese buyers who wait for those nations’ spring harvests—when prices are lower—to make purchases.

Competitors are penetrating markets the U.S. once owned…..

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Speaker Ryan tries to advance Trump’s Border Tax…The Senate GOPer’s won’t bite…

Donald Trump keep on about a border tax to hang on American companies that move jobs to Mexico ….

He was gonna whipsaw America companies into bringing jobs back to America with the tax penality ….‘America First’....

Problem…

Donald Trump himself and even Steve Bannon CANNOT impose a tax….

Congress does that….

And while Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wants the tax money from such an law?

Senate REPUBLICANS (Nor will a good many in the House) will NOT vote for it….

And without the tax revenue?

Ryan is NOT gonna be able change much in the tax system…

And the jobs are STILL going to Mexico and other countries….

Paul Ryan showed up to Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch on Tuesday hoping to salvage a controversial pillar of his tax reform plan that would change how imports and exports are taxed. “Keep your powder dry,” the House speaker pleaded.

The next day, Sen. Tom Cotton took to the Senate floor to slam Ryan’s so-called border adjustment tax, saying “some ideas are so stupid only an intellectual could believe them.”

“Many other senators share these concerns and we most certainly will not ‘keep our powder dry,’” Cotton went on, without naming the speaker in his speech.

The sequence was an ominous sign for a linchpin of Ryan’s tax plan — and perhaps for the prospects of tax reform happening at all. The border adjustment tax would generate more than a trillion dollars over a decade; there’s no obvious way to replace that money, which is needed to help pay for a steep cut in corporate and income taxes.

In meetings with administration officials and Senate leaders, Ryan has framed his proposal as a compromise between a tariff, which the president wants, and conservative orthodoxy against border taxes…

Many Republican senators say privately they detest the concept, fretting that it will hurt their in-state retailers like Walmart, which is headquartered in Cotton’s state of Arkansas. Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), sources said, has warned Trump and Ryan that border adjustment won’t likely have the support needed to clear the Senate.

Hatch, in an interview after Ryan’s presentation, said the speaker “didn’t cover [the border adjustment proposal] as specifically as I would have liked.” And Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, the fifth-ranking GOP senator, said the Finance Committee will likely go a “different way.”

Others were more unequivocal.

“It’s beyond a complication. It’s a bad economic proposition,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.).

That’s not to mention Ryan’s issue in his own chamber. A handful of Ways and Means Republicans — including some with close ties to Trump — are fretting that retailers slapped with an import tax will ultimately pass the cost onto consumers. One member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio), asked his chairman Wednesday to hold hearings on the proposal….

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Note….

As pointed out here…

The ‘honeymoon’ that Trump has had for the last few weeks with Congress will evaporate when Congressmen have to get down covering their own rears back home…

It’s coming….

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Ain’t gonna be easy for Trump to create US Manufacturing jobs he promised….

Manufacturing jobs in America require much higher skilled people than before….

And autmation is also increasingly cutting back the number of low skilled jobs….

Both also do complete with outsourcing manufacturing of products to countries that have cheaper labor…

(THAT continues even as Trump boasts he’s stop the practice…He HASN’T)

The people in the Rust Belt states that sitched votes from President Obama to Donald Trump may never see their basic manufacturing jobs EVCER return no matter how much Trump says he’ll try tax American countries trying increase their profits….(Something Trump and his Republicans friends have on their minds, Right?)

It’s true that jobs in the manufacturing sector tend to be “good” jobs, with higher pay and fuller benefits than the US average. But manufacturing isn’t what it used to be. And not just because millions of jobs have disappeared, but because the ones that remain offer fewer advantages — especially for Americans who don’t go to college. They used to be the greatest beneficiaries of manufacturing’s onetime largesse.

That poses a real problem for Trump. Even if his administration manages to revitalize manufacturing, the rewards may not reach his working-class supporters. The production jobs of tomorrow are likely to require higher education, while those open to lower-skilled workers may lack security and strong wages.

Why manufacturing jobs aren’t as good as they used to be

People who work in manufacturing tend to get bigger paychecks than those in other industries. But the payoff depends a lot on where you fall on the education ladder — and on the organizational chart.

For the past 50 years, the manufacturing sector has been slowly turning against lower-skilled workers and high school graduates. A Globe analysis of census data shows that in 1960, non-college-educated workers in durable goods manufacturing earned 100 percent more than their peers in other industries. Not even college graduates could gain so big an advantage….

Think about why companies set up shop overseas to begin with. In most cases, it was for cheap labor. That’s part of the point of free trade: It allows companies to move their routine work to low-wage countries and focus on higher-productivity tasks here.

If these companies decide to move their operations back to the United States, they face a choice: Replace their truly low-wage Chinese or Mexican workers with lowish-wage American workers, or replace them with machines.

Neither scenario is particularly good for American workers on the low end of the pay scale….

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The Move to contracting out jobs by Big Companies…

It’s been going on since back in the day….

Set budgets for set jobs in companies …..

No worry about benefits, pay scales or anything else….

After a few years when people expect a raisewhich would increase the cost to the contractor?

The jobs go out for bid to a new contractor , who may even keep the same employee’s but ?

No raise ane even cuts in pay …..

That was then….

Now we have contractors in other countries that pay sub-American wages…

Donald Trump is NOT gonna be able to force these compainies  to ‘do the right thing’….The right thing is for them to make MORE profits….Trumnp knows all about that as does Republicans…..

Companies, which disclose few details about their outside workers, are rapidly increasing the numbers and types of jobs seen as ripe for contracting. At large firms, 20% to 50% of the total workforce often is outsourced, according to staffing executives. Bank of America Corp. , Verizon Communications Inc., Procter & Gamble Co. and FedEx Corp. have thousands of contractors each.

In oil, gas and pharmaceuticals, outside workers sometimes outnumber employees by at least 2 to 1, says Arun Srinivasan, head of strategy and customer operations at SAP Fieldglass, a division of business software provider SAP SE that helps customers manage their workforces.

Janitorial work and cafeteria services disappeared from most company payrolls long ago. A similar shift is under way for higher-paying, white-collar jobs such as research scientist, recruiter, operations manager and loan underwriter.

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25% of all medical transcriptionists, who type medical reports recorded by doctors and nurses, were employed in what the agency calls the business support services industry in 2015. The percentage has jumped by more than a third since 2009, a sign that transcriptionists are being pushed out of many doctors’ offices and hospitals.

“I haven’t yet met a CEO who’s not surprised by how many people who touch their products aren’t their own employees,” says Carl Camden, president and CEO of staffing agency Kelly Services Inc. Outsourcing and consulting brought in 14% of Kelly’s revenue in 2016.

Eventually, some large companies could be pruned of all but the most essential employees….

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Some Republicans in Congress admit they have toooo much on their plates…

Some people might remember how President Bill Clinton stated off with plans to change a LOT of things …

He sent Congress this and that to work on….

Result?

He was told to slow down…

The US Congress doesn’t work THAT fast….

Folks?

The same hold true decades later….

President Trump and GOP leaders on Capitol Hill have promised voters that 2017 will bring the repeal and replacement of ObamaCare, a long-awaited overhaul of the tax code and funding for a “great wall” along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Now, some in the party are wondering whether Republicans have bitten off more than they can chew.

Conservative naysayers inside and outside the Capitol argue that it’s not just about the GOP-controlled Congress’s slow start in carrying out Trump’s agenda.

There’s serious concern that Trump and GOP leadership have simply identified too many big-ticket, politically thorny items to tackle in year one. They also see tough times ahead in prioritizing what to do.

“It’s not just the fact that there are a lot of items but the enormity of those items,” said GOP Rep. Daniel Webster, who learned how to manage a legislative calendar while serving as Speaker of the Florida state House.

Another Republican lawmaker was even more blunt: “There’s no way we can do all these issues.”….

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President Trump blinks…Backs One China Policy after all….

Showing that he IS LEARNING (And listening to advice) after three weeks in office that Foreign Policy is about what about more that his concept of a fair ‘deal’ , and  is not something he wants to get into serious wrestling match that would destabilize the whole of the South China see and cost Americans TONS of money in products the get from China ?

(China is the second biggest economic power on the planet, fast approaching America…It has everything Russia has and more times multiples…)

Donald Trump has endorsed the firm American policy of a One China….

A LOT of things the American President simply cannot just arbitrarily change…

Oh, and?

The US military can also relax a little….

President Trump just backed down from what could have been a serious fight with China.

On Thursday evening in Washington, he appeared to shy away from confrontation with Beijing by agreeing to honor the one-China policy, during a lengthy telephone call with China’s President Xi Jinping.

The move is set to ease tensions between the world’s two most powerful nations: relations had been inflamed after Trump suggested he would only commit to the one-China policy if Beijing addressed his concerns about trade and currency issues.

Experts had previously noted with concern that Trump had not spoken to Xi since his inauguration, despite speaking or meeting with at least 18 other world leaders — although the two men did talk by phone days after Trump’s election victory.

In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.

“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.

In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported.

“The development of China and the United States absolutely can complement each other and advance together. Both sides can absolutely become very good cooperative partners,” Xi said.

The one-China policy forms the bedrock of U.S.-China diplomatic ties, established by President Richard Nixon and China’s leader Mao Zedong 1979. It rules out independence and diplomatic recognition for the island of Taiwan….

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Democrats huddle and look at economic help for the Rust belt…

Democrats are huddling together in Maryland right now , going over what they can do get themselves back into power in the House and Senate first and then the White House….

The focus is strongly focused on gaining votes back in those Rust Belt states that President Obama got in 2008/2012 , but where lost to Hillary Clinton back in November…

Gone are the squabbles over how to add junior-level posts to Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s leadership team. Trump’s executive orders and the Republican-controlled Congress’s efforts to dismantle the legacy of Barack Obama’s administration quickly took care of that.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pa.), barely into his third year in office, summed up the levels of grief House Democrats went through after their party lost every level of power: “Deep sadness, depression, then anger.” Now, however, fear of Trump is forcing them to think bigger.

“Donald Trump is a great unifier,” he said.

He is also a great trap — a magnet for attacks that some rank-and-file Democrats worry are appealing to liberal coastal elites but not to the dozens of inland congressional districts that Democrats need to win if they’re ever going to take back the House majority.

Boyle was part of the loose collection of antagonists who after the election pleaded with Democratic leaders for more economic issues on the agenda. That uprising culminated with a third of the caucus voting in leadership elections for a backbench Democrat, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, instead of Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Pelosi met this week with a large group of those Democrats who have been agitating for agenda items that appeal beyond the liberal base. Their goal is an economic message that can appeal to the more than 40 percent of voters in union households who voted for Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton — the largest percentage in a presidential race since 1988.

“I think there have been steps in the right direction, moving toward an economic message,” Ryan said in an interview Tuesday, before heading to a Democratic policy retreat that runs through Friday here in Charm City….

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Obamacare Repeal/Replace?…Huh?

It seems that the Repeal and Replacement of the Program has gone silent…

The President is talking about his daughter and Norstoms and TJ Maxx….

Senate Republicans are trying to get confirmations done…

House Republicans are having people getting in their grill’s back home…

And Insutance companies are warning that the program needs to taken care of  for the next year soon NO MATTER WHAT….

The Obamacare repeal effort was already in unstable condition. Now its status must be downgraded to critical — and completely unserious.

After years of Republican yammering about the urgent need to repeal the Affordable Care Act and months of fruitless pursuit of an alternative, President Trump now says he may not unveil a replacement this year at all. And from Capitol Hill comes new word that Republicans aren’t even talking about a plan.

“To be honest, there’s not any real discussion taking place right now,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) told reporters Tuesday at the Capitol. Corker, according to the Huffington Post, said he has “no idea” when Republicans might start drafting an alternative to Obamacare, adding, “I don’t see any congealing around ideas yet.”

For seven years, opponents of the Affordable Care Act vowed to make its repeal their top concern, warning that the law would turn America overnight into a socialist dystopia. Now these opponents have unfettered control of the government and they aren’t even talking about repealing….

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What a $1.50 Min Wage Pay Raise can do….

NY Times points out what a $1.50 Min Wage hike can do for those in New York City….

Jade McKenzie, 22, of Brooklyn, has been able to save.

Alicia Polanco, 26, surprised her daughter with new jeans and sandals.

Others are buying textbooks or new technology, or planning to travel.

The $12 minimum wage that took effect for fast-food workers in New York City on Dec. 31 means an extra $1.50 per hour for those workers, or $240 a month more before taxes for a 40-hour workweek.

(By the end of next year, the minimum wage for employees at fast-food chains and other large city employers is set to rise to $15.)

A month (and change) after the pay raise, we asked fast-food workers how their financial situations have changed.

“It’s been way better,” said Lakisha Moorer, 21, a worker at a KFC in the Bronx, who is planning to use the extra money to move to the borough from Yonkers this summer. “Shoot, I can actually save money now.”

Nipu Rani, 26, who works at a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts has been able to buy more groceries and send more money to her parents in Bangladesh.

A few supervisors we spoke to said they also liked the change.

“Everything’s moving now,” said Anthony Hewitt, 24, a shift supervisor at KFC. Applications have more than doubled since the new minimum wage took effect, he said. Morale has improved.

But it’s not all rosy.

Nadia Muhit, 20, who works at Dunkin’ Donuts, said the hours worked by some employees had been reduced.

“For some of us, it’s been a pay raise, but it hasn’t felt like it,” she said.

At a McDonald’s near Westchester Avenue in the Bronx, the increase has meant more work….

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Trump hasn’t stop American Companies from moving jobs Mexico…

Do NOT believe the man….

Big business is STILL moving jobs to Mexico’s cheaper labor…..

And the ‘jawboning’ threat of a large border tax has had little effect ….

President Donald Trump boosted the hopes of employees at Rexnord Corp.’s factory in Indianapolis in December when he castigated the company for “viciously firing” workers and planning to move their jobs to Mexico.

Two months later, Rexnord is still planning to close the industrial-bearings factory, which employs about 350 people, despite Trump’s shaming and his earlier intervention to stop a nearby Carrier Corp. furnace factory from closing.

Rexnord says moving the plant to Mexico is part of a plan to save $30 million annually.

Executives at Peoria, Ill.-based Caterpillar are moving ahead with a restructuring that includes shifting jobs from a Joliet, Ill., factory to Monterrey, Mexico.

Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor is moving forward with Japan’s JFE Steel to build a new plant in Mexico to make steel for car makers.

The continuing investments abroad underscore the scale of the economic forces that confront President Trump’s plans to persuade U.S. firms to stop moving operations — and jobs — to Mexico.

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Republicans Worry…How are they gonna pay for Trump’s BIG GOVERNMENT Plans…

Please note the above use of the word’s BIG GOVERNMENT.

Those two words up until the November elections where curse words for Republicans…

NOW?

Well the party seems to hitched to the  wagon of  a guy who revealed  in creating DEBT....

And he does NOT want cuts in entitlements? (Another Republican curse word)

How long are the Republicans keep riding in Donald Trump’s wagon?

President Donald Trump wants to rebuild the nation’s roads and bridges, boost military spending, slash taxes and build a “great wall.” But Republicans on Capitol Hill have one question for him: How the heck will we pay for all of this?

GOP lawmakers are fretting that Trump’s spending requests, due out in a month or so, will blow a gaping hole in the federal budget — ballooning the debt and undermining the party’s doctrine of fiscal discipline.

Trump has signaled he’s serious about a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, as he promised on the campaign trail. He also wants Republicans to approve extra spending this spring to build a wall along the U.S. southern border and beef up the military — the combined price tag of which could reach $50 billion, insiders say. And that’s to say nothing of tax cuts, which the president’s team has suggested need not necessarily be paid for.

Trump, meanwhile, has made clear he has little interest in tackling the biggest drivers of the national debt: entitlements. Republicans have been yearning to overhaul Medicare and Social Security for decades.

Even without Trump’s pricey wish list, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates the $19.9 trillion debt will grow by a further $9.4 trillion over the next decade if nothing changes.

“I don’t think you can do infrastructure, raise defense spending, do a tax cut, keep Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security just as they are, and balance the budget. It’s just not possible,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a senior member of the House Budget Committee. “Sooner or later, they’re going to come to grips with it because the numbers force you to.”…

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If Trump’s ‘big border tax’ goes into effect?…Foreign Car Prices COULD Rise…

This from a ‘tax analysis ‘ projection  excercise…

Anyone looking to buy a Jaguar or Land Rover in the near future would be wise to act fast.

If the Trump Administration is successful in its push to implement a steep import tax on foreign-made cars, the average price of a Jaguar Land Rover vehicle could increase by as much as $17,000.

The British automaker would face the steepest increase of any major manufacturer, according to researchers at Baum and Associates, a southeast Michigan-based research and analysis firm.

Volvo and Volkswagen would also face hefty average tax penalties of $7,600 and $6,800, respectively, according to Baum and Associates, while domestic carmakers such as Tesla and General Motors would face less of a tax burden. Ironically, Ford, a favorite punching bag for then-candidate Donald Trump on the campaign trail, would face the smallest average increase at just $282 per vehicle.

Baum and Associates described the Trump tax analysis as a “thought exercise,” according to Automotive News, and not necessarily a guarantee of things to come….

General Motors, Fiat Chrysler and Honda all source 60 percent of the U.S. lineups domestically while Ford sits at 82 percent and Tesla makes all of its models in California….

…the companies at the biggest risk are Mazda and Mitsubishi, which also import their entire lineup…..

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The people the Democrats lost to Donald Trump sit and wait…And hope…

AP takes a look at  afew of those in Blue states that voted for Donald Trump with thye hope that he woauld indeed make THEIR America ‘Great’…..

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. (AP) — She tugged 13 envelopes from a cabinet above the stove, each one labeled with a different debt: the house payment, the student loans, the vacuum cleaner she bought on credit.

Lydia Holt and her husband tuck money into these envelopes with each paycheck to whittle away at what they owe. They both earn about $10 an hour and, with two kids, there are usually some they can’t fill. She did the math; at this rate, they’ll be paying these same bills for 87 years.

In 2012, Holt voted for Barack Obama because he promised her change, but she feels that change hasn’t reached her here. So last year she chose a presidential candidate unlike any she’d ever seen, the billionaire businessman who promised to help America, and people like her, win again.

Many of her neighbors did, too — so many that for the first time in more than 30 years, Crawford County, Wisconsin, a sturdy brick in the once-mighty Big Blue Wall, abandoned the Democratic Party and that wall crumbled. The rural county lent Donald Trump 3,844 votes toward his win. More came from formerly blue counties to the north and to the south, and on and on. Some 50 counties stretching 300 miles down the Mississippi River — through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois — transformed in one election season into Trump Country.

They voted for Trump for an array of reasons, and the list of grievances they hope he now corrects is long and exacting: stagnant wages, the cost of health care, a hard-to-define feeling that things are not getting better, at least not for people like them.

Here in Crawford County, residents often recite two facts about their hometown, the first one proudly: It is the second-oldest community in the state. The next is that it’s also one of the poorest….

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Note….

While the Democratic story in the postt 2016 election  media is about  Progressives and the Left?

The basic problem for the Democrats across the country and the Presidency is that they NEED the votes of these , who went for Obama and left Clinton …..

THAT means economic light for these area’s…

NOT the idelogcy of the left….

Re; James Carville

‘It’s the Economy Stupid’

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Are the Big Business people suddenly worried about Trump delivering for them?

Trump & Co. is bogged down with Trade  Protection moves and Immigration fight’s in Trump’s No Enter Muslim ban….

Trump’s cabinet picks are probably all gonna make it….

But most will not get the Ok for their job’s for a while yet….

Trump’s Admin’s appointment of other upper and middle level political appointee’s are almost nonexistent…..

These are people that would work policy that business people thought wqs coming their way…

The idea that a Trump Admin would hit thye ground running has all but evaporated…..

A rethink, if not an outright reversal?

Just a few weeks ago, Wall Street analysts were busy boosting their economic forecasts on the expectation that President Trump would implement sweeping corporate-tax reform, a rollback of regulations, and new fiscal stimulus. Two weeks into his term and the president has been focused primarily on immigration and trade, causing a reevaluation among analysts at some banks that harks back to pre-election concerns about Trump’s uncertain effect on markets and U.S. economic growth.

“Following the election, the positive shift in sentiment among investors, business, and consumers suggested that the probability of tax cuts and easier regulation was seen to be higher than the probability of meaningful restrictions to trade and immigration,” Goldman Sachs Group Inc. economists led by Alec Phillips wrote in note published late last week. “One month into the year, the balance of risks is somewhat less positive in our view.”…

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Economy adds 227,000 jobs…Jobs rate @ 4.8%…

President Obama’s swan song on the US Economy closes with a bang….

U.S. employers added the most workers in four months while wage growth slowed more than projected, suggesting some slack remains in the labor market.

January’s 227,000 increase in payrolls followed a 157,000 rise in December, a Labor Department report showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 180,000 advance. The jobless rate rose to 4.8 percent, and average hourly earnings grew 2.5 percent from January 2016, the weakest since August.

The data, representing the final figures under President Barack Obama, indicate the job market is still enjoying steady growth though isn’t tight enough yet to result in a bonanza for worker pay. While analysts expect hiring to cool as the economy nears full employment, President Donald Trump has pledged to bring people back into the workforce and boost wages further through tax cuts, infrastructure investment and looser regulation.

“There’s more slack in the labor market than the unemployment rate implies, but we’re continuing to make progress in absorbing that slack,”…

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Trump Admin begins negotiations on NAFTA with Mexico…

Most econmists believe that the President Clinton deal has helped the US, Mexico and Canada ….

Mexico is beginning to look at other countries to trade with in case they have problems with getting a good ‘deal’ with America….

Products from Mexico could jump up in price if the NAFTA agreement is canceled by Trump & Co….

The United States and Mexico appear to have taken the first steps toward renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a Mexican government document, walking down a path that would fulfill one of President Trump’s big campaign promises and potentially transform the hemisphere’s economy.

A communique posted by Mexico’s foreign and economic ministries on a government website on Wednesday said that the Mexican government had begun a series of consultations with the private sector, a process which it said would take 90 days. “The consultation in Mexico will start simultaneously with the internal process being carried out by the government of the United States,” the document said.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment and officials in the U.S. Congress said they had not yet been notified of any formal action. But trade economists said the process might be tied to U.S. legislation passed under former president Barack Obama that gives the president power to quickly broker a new trade agreement. Called fast-track authority, it requires the president to notify Congress 90 days before entering into negotiations for a new agreement.

If the White House is indeed proceeding under fast-track authority, that suggests Trump could intend to scrap NAFTA altogether and forge bilateral trade deals with Mexico and Canada instead…

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