Trump playing Russian roulette on NAFTA, says ex-ambassador to Canada

Bruce Heyman, who was U.S. ambassador to Canada under former President Barack Obama, warned the Trump administration about harming America’s strong trade relationship with the earth’s 10th-largest economy north of the border.

Canada is usually increasingly convinced which President Donald Trump will pull out of NAFTA, two government sources told Reuters on Wednesday, sending the Canadian dollar along with Mexican peso lower. Those currencies were more stable in Thursday trading. Mexico is usually the third country within the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement.

Despite the report, nothing has changed since Trump has been threatening since the 2016 presidential campaign to exit the deal if the U.S. cannot re-negotiate better terms.

“I think we’re playing a bit of Russian roulette. This particular’s one thing to do This particular with your enemies. This particular’s another thing to do This particular with your best friend,” Heyman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Thursday.

Government officials are due to hold a sixth along with penultimate round of negotiations in Montreal via Jan. 23 to 28 as time runs out to bridge major differences before a March deadline.

One of the arguments by the Trump administration for seeking brand new trade deals has been the desire to narrow trade deficits.

however according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the U.S. had a goods along with services trade surplus with Canada of $12.5 billion in 2016. The trade gap with Mexico last year was a $55.6 billion deficit.

“I think This particular’s a mistake in thinking of This particular in terms of deficit along with surplus. This particular’s one thing when This particular’s an extreme when you’re looking at China. however when you are looking at North America … This particular is usually the largest trading pact which exists within the earth, along with I think This particular’s broadly, incredibly successful,” Heyman contended.

The deficit with Mexico is usually a drop within the bucket compared with the shortfall for China. The U.S. trade deficit with China was $309.6 billion in 2016.

The Trump administration is usually using NAFTA “as a scapegoat” because job loss within the current U.S. economy “is usually more a factor of automation along with innovation along with creativity, along with not necessarily the old thought of moving plants via one country to the various other based on labor,” said Heyman, who like many officials in both Democratic along with Republican administrations is usually a Goldman Sachs alum.

(Top Trump economic advisor Gary Cohn was the No. 2 executive at Goldman before joining the administration. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s resume also includes time at the firm.)

The philosophy of the Trump White House runs counter to Heyman’s argument because the president has made bringing manufacturing jobs back to the U.S. a top priority.

On Wednesday, Japanese automakers Toyota along with Mazda unveiled plans for a $1.6 billion assembly plant in Huntsville, Alabama.

President Donald Trump was quick with his praise on Twitter.

NAFTA was truly a bipartisan effort at the time This particular went into effect 24 years ago. The free trade agreement was negotiated within the Republican presidential administration of George H.W. Bush. This particular was later implemented by Democratic President Bill Clinton, who had supported the deal before winning the White House.

— Reuters contributed to This particular report.

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