In yet another great omen for the Trump presidency, Mexico has already come around to his tough talk, and wants a place at the bargaining table.
The country’s new Foreign Relations Secretary has basically asked for a do-over when it comes to setting the trade relationship between Mexico and the U.S.
The wave of automakers who have been changing plans to relocate factories in Mexico is surely adding tremendous leverage to Trump’s position.
Luis Videgaray, the new secretary, complained of “enormous uncertainty” in a radio interview airing this week. He said that Mexican businessmen and politicians are concerned by the election of Trump, and worry is running high that their gravy train may be coming to an end.
“That is why this negotiation process is so important,” said Videgaray speaking to Radio Formula in Mexico. “To dispel this uncertainty.”
He continued that talks should resume as soon as possible. He said his country wants to negotiate the changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Trump is demanding.
The controversial trade pact was signed into law by Bill Clinton in 1993, and is widely criticized for its negative impact on American jobs, and it’s damage to the farm economy of Mexico.
In an attempt to save face, Videgaray sheepishly explained that Mexico’s main concern would be “how to protect jobs in Mexico,” and said:
“there are a lot of reasons to think the negotiation would be favorable for Mexico.”
Finding courage with a shaky voice, the secretary said Mexico is willing to negotiate Trump’s plan to build a border wall. But he said Mexico won’t pay for the wall, calling that “unacceptable.”
Two weeks before his inauguration we are seeing another example of Trump’s masterful negotiating skills, and how those skills can be put to work for the American people. He’s only getting warmed up now. In the course of his presidency, we’ll see Trump challenge, and prevail against the toughest negotiators in the world.
Just as Trump promised on the campaign trail, the border wall with Mexico will be built, and Mexico will pay for it, either directly or indirectly. As the political class begins to accept the fact that Trump is a force of nature who will accomplish his stated goals, they are getting nervous. And nervous is exactly what you want your opponent to be, heading into a negotiation.
Mexico has moved past the anger stage, and into bargaining.
The truth about NAFTA is that it made it easier for Mexico’s corrupt fat cats to stay wealthy, while the average citizen was left out in the cold. It was a terrible deal for the working people of both America and Mexico. Just as presidential candidate Ross Perot warned in 1992, there has been a “giant sucking sound” of jobs leaving the U.S. after NAFTA’s passage. What’s more, it has contributed to a massive exodus of Mexico’s farm workers to the United States.
The corn market which once supported so many independent farmers in Mexico has been completely decimated by the pact. Multinational corporations opened up factories creating low-wage jobs at the expense of organized labor and the environment. This, in turn, drove tens of millions of immigrants north. American taxpayers have been overwhelmed by the burden of accommodating waves of illegal aliens.
For the blue collar American worker, NAFTA was a deadly double-whammy. The good jobs that didn’t require a college degree quickly evaporated, as shops folded up and transferred to Mexico. At the same time, the American labor market was flooded by millions of displaced workers from Mexico who had seen their farm jobs dry up under the trade deal. The results were predictable: widespread unemployment, wage depression, homelessness, alcohol and drug addiction, despair.
While the American economy has shed hundreds of thousands of good jobs, and transitioned to a “service economy” with extreme wealth concentration, the Mexican economy has struggled to maintain anemic 1% GDP growth every year since entering NAFTA.
Mexicans, both here in America and back home in Mexico, should be praising their luck that Trump was elected. Instead of perpetuating one of history’s worst deals, and continuing the widespread poverty that NAFTA brought, he will throw the whole rotten mess into the garbage and start over.
Whatever results from the new round of talks is bound to be worlds better than Clinton’s bloated boondoggle.
While the American working men and women will be put first, Trump’s new trade deal is likely to have a secondary benefit for Mexican workers and other foreigners. When international corporations are able to move workers around like pawns on a chessboard, the middle class always loses.
Even Mexican labor activists have decried the current state of our trade relations under NAFTA.
Manuel Perez-Rocha, an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., and a Mexican national, explained how the benefits of the deal never quite materialized:
“Before NAFTA, I still remember how my father would take me to different industries in which Mexico would manufacture its own tractors and buses. We had an industry that was completely dismantled to give way to bigger corporations from the United States to use Mexico as an assembly plant for exporting cars back to the United States. And this hasn’t produced the boom of jobs that was promised.” Perez-Rocha concluded,“So in the end what NAFTA did was destroy the Mexican national industry and destroy a lot of jobs.”
With both sides finding a lot to dislike about NAFTA, why continue trading under the act? Because Obama is a stuffed suit who is more concerned with taking selfies on The View than fixing America’s broken economy?
If Hillary had squeaked in to the White House we would have seen the same and ten times worse, with the passage of the TPP, which was called NAFTA on Steroids.
We may never know just how lucky we were that the voters of Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, saw through Hillary’s lies and voted for a jobs president. Those good people, along with the rest of the Trump voters, will be remembered as the revolutionaries who ushered in a golden dawn of modern manufacturing in America.