"I think we're going to have a gang-busters 4th quarter, and the question is, does all of that translate for the Republicans in the Midterm..." @LizPeek

Oct 03, 2018, 02:56 AM

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English: Los Angeles High School Graduating Class of Summer, 1940

Date Unknown date

Source Photo taken by my great-grandfather

Author Lloyd C. Whitney

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"I think we're going to have a gang-busters 4th quarter, and the question is, does all of that translate for the Republicans in the Midterm..."  @LizPeek

Trump's 'America First' policy scores a big win with new NAFTA deal

BY LIZ PEEK, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR, THE HILL — 10/01/18 02:15 PM EDT 

President Trump needed a win going into the midterm elections, and now he has a big one. Hours before the expiration of a deadline set by the White House, Canada concluded its testy negotiations and agreed to join the U.S. and Mexico in the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Though Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had resisted giving in to numerous demands laid out by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Ottawa finally came to terms, presumably deciding that it could not suffer the economic pummeling that would follow the demise of the 25-year pact with its largest trading partner.

Nor could Trudeau withstand the political hit his Liberal Party would invariably have taken.

Though Canada’s young prime minister enjoyed a polling surge after he pushed back against President Trump’s comments that he was “weak” and “dishonest” at the Group of Seven meeting held earlier this year in Quebec, it was clear that declining to join a revised NAFTA could have been political suicide for Trudeau.

Trudeau faces elections in 2019, and the demise of NAFTA would have shaken Canada’s export-heavy economy. Already, the country’s growth has faltered modestly because of the uncertainty surrounding the trade talks.

The National Bank of Canada recently trimmed their forecast of 2018 GDP growth to from 2.2 percent to 2.0 percent, citing trade worries. 

It could have gotten worse. This past summer, Trump upped the stakes on Canada, threatening to impose tariffs on automobiles coming in from our northern neighbor. The possible damage from a 25-percent tariff on car imports was described as “catastrophic” for Canada, with some projecting well over 100,000 lost jobs. 

The Royal Bank of Canada stated in its recent economic update, “Tariffs on production and an assumed decline in auto sales activity would generate an estimated 0.5[percentage point] hit to the economy. Adding on sectors indirectly impacted, could more than double the hit to the economy’s growth rate.” 

The threat of car tariffs increased the pressure, as did Trump’s apparent readiness to move forward with a bilateral agreement with Mexico, despite resistance from Congress.

The new NAFTA, which will be called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), secured some advantages for the U.S. while also giving in to certain Canadian priorities. As in the pact with Mexico, the U.S. insisted that a greater portion of cars sold in the U.S. be produced in the U.S. (75 percent, up from 62.5 percent) and also won some concessions allowing greater poultry and dairy imports.

The latter issue was especially contentious, since Quebec, which is home to a good part of Canada’s agriculture industry and fiercely protective of its dairy farmers, is politically up for grabs in the elections currently underway.  

Trudeau’s Liberal Party, which has reigned in the province for 15 years, is threatened by an upstart party which has never been in power. Immigration is a big issue, but trade follows close behind.

Canada’s tariffs on dairy imports of roughly 270 percent have been called out by President Trump as unfair and were t...