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Trump’s Tough Talk on NAFTA Suggests Pact’s Demise Is Imminent (nytimes.com)
21 points by TuringNYC 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 24 comments

Whoops. Somebody should tell the Brits.


“Britain could join trans-Atlantic trade alliance bigger than the EU if there is no deal on Brexit”

(Article only _two_ days old at time of writing!)

Brexiteers have been pushing nonsense like this for ages, usually under the delusion that Britain and America would be equal partners.

Meanwhile we're facing another Trump related trade dispute with Canada that affects the UK: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-41592474

What's not stated in all of this is that the collapse of a major employer plus other Brexit fallout plus the collapse of devolved government in NI could result in a resumption of terrorist violence.

I don't think there's any appetite for a return to violence. Besides – as you probably know – the former IRA's political arm, Sinn Féin, is in power north and south of the border.

Prediction: this is going to kill a lot of American jobs short term. It may or may not be good for America long-term, but in the short term it's a huge disruption, and in disruptions jobs get lost quickly and gained slowly.

Example: right now, an American firm builds widgets in Mexico with Canadian resources and sells to all three countries. In the future, the American firm builds in America and sells only to Americans. A Cana-Mexican firm builds in Mexico with Canadian resources and sells to Cana-Mex. You can argue which is better for America & Cana-Mex. But there's no doubt that the transitional period will suck for all.

In the transitional period the Cana-Mexican firm hasn't been founded yet, nor the American factory built, so the pre-demise scenario continues. But now prices double for everybody due to increased tariffs, non-tariff barriers and currency fluctuation. So sales drop through the floor or are lost to Chinese competitors. Lose-lose-lose.

I know when we hear about NAFTA we usually think of industrials and manufacturing. Curious if anyone has a good analysis of NAFTA and the (obvious) first-order benefits it presents to the information economy -- since the US is a large net positive on that front.

Yes, I expect that if Trump continues on his protectionist direction in some industries, there will be consequences in other ones. Why should the rest of the Western world allow Amazon, Google, Hollywood etc. to dominate their respective fields without tariffs or restrictions if the USA becomes protectionist where it suits Trump?

The EU and its countries are actively trying to tax Facebook, Google, Apple, Amazon, etc. more than today for some time now. It's just not so easy. But that doesn't have anything to do with Trump, this started well before most people in Europe even knew him.

It's not so easy without upsetting established political conventions.

If those change though it becomes a lot easier to do.

That's because those companies pay lower taxes than local companies. The real beef here isn't with the companies themselves, but with some smaller member states that steal the tax base of other bigger member states.

You are right, that's what e.g. the verdict against Ireland/Apple was about. But this is only part of the story. The verdict in this case was that Ireland let Apple pay lower taxes compared to other local companies. Some other EU-countries want to tackle a different thing: Apple (just to give an example) not paying taxes on the profit they make in each country individually but only in Ireland (in the case of Apple) for all (EU-)countries combined.

And rightly so.


A Canadian friend of mine is now a US citizen who immigrated to the States on a NAFTA related (T?) visa. Now that he's losing his eyesight, companies like Apple and governmental bodies like the Obama White House invited him to advise on disability issues. His presence is definitely a plus for the disabled in America even if you argue that a native born citizen could have achieved the same results.

Trump’s negotiating tactics do genuinely seem quite clever, despite me not liking the man at all or supporting the aims of the negotiation.

He seems to combine the “madman” theory with “good cop, bad cop” to produce a “crazy leader, sensible leader” tactic. It’s probably a very effective strategy, if all you’re interested in, is optimising the short-term, very narrow, very selfish interests of a part of the US population. It’s a strategy I’d like to try in a board game.

The crybully is similar but he rotates through all three phases of the Karpman Drama Triangle often in order to play hero. My hypothesis is many sociopathic leaders of different stripes use/d similar tactics to hit people’s emotions and bypass their rationality. It is what it is, and many people are seduced when times seem rough that someone has a panacea or a plan to make everything better. I wish people focused more on manipulating him into doing what actually needs to happen and less on useless demonizing or lionizing. Polarization is gonna kill more people by not tackling huge problems like locked-in climate change... the world needs CDR, solar shade or whatever scales as fast as possible, “moon-mission”-style.


> I wish people focused more on manipulating him into doing what actually needs to happen and less on useless demonizing or lionizing.

While I'm hope to be wrong and corrected about this, the impression I get is that this is exactly what's already happening. Except it's the 'bad guys' doing what they feel needs to be done.

Not so sure - what are his successes? Another interpretation is that he panders to his own base by talking tough in public, but then pleads in private with his supposed opponents. For example, his tough talks on refugees contrasted with his private begging to Malcolm Turnbull after he was elected.

He seems to have moved the NFL past an impasse.

What was the impasse?

With his insulting Tweets and derogatory remarks, Trump is creating local pressure and strong incentives for foreign politicians not to negotiate anything with him. That doesn't seem very productive. And that is on top of some already existing massive unpopularity.

Take Mexico, for example. Making derogatory remarks about a whole country and its people makes it almost impossible for any politician of that country to negotiate without risking to loose a substantial amount of voters. It's a real diplomatic problem, which is aggravated by the fact that many countries are still trying to figure out whom they can reach in the US diplomatic chain in order to get any reliable reply.

Trump seems unaware that there is anyone in the world not intimidated by him or his bluster. He's a checkers player who stumbled ass-backwards into a global chess match.

Just like a bull in a china shop is able to effect a lot of change in a short time. Negotiations are supposedly ending in a net positive, I've yet to see one, either for the US or the rest of the world.

The world is not a board game.

I totally agree with you, but I suspect it will end up in a net positive for Trump and his cronies, just not for the rest of the world. That said, it is fascinating to watch, even if terrifying at the same time.

If its so effective how come he can't pass anything?

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