Spinmeisters on both sides of the border have been busy this week extolling the virtues of a new trade deal agreed between Mexico and the United States after 18 months of negotiations.
The world’s most virtuoso spin doctor and showman, President Donald Trump, was among the deal’s most ardent champions, viewing it as a viable starting point in his quest to reduce the United States’ $US70 billion deficit with its southern neighbor.
“I think it is one of the largest trade deals ever made — a really good deal for both countries,” he boasted at an Oval office press briefing with Mexican officials, that included Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray and Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.
After making the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) — “the worst trade deal ever made,” was how he described it on multiple occasions — a core part of his presidential campaign, Trump was never going to settle for anything less than a perceived “victory” from the trilateral talks.
Trump also vowed to ditch the Nafta name, even suggesting a new one: the U.S-Mexico Trade Agreement. “It has a bad connotation because the United States was hurt very badly by Nafta for many years,” the president said.
Without admitting that Mexico had made considerable concessions to the United States, Videgaray said the most significant part of the agreement was that it ended the uncertainty for his country. However, he stressed the deal should include Canada — something Trump seems ambivalent about (he has suggested a separate deal with Canada might be preferable) — and was noncommittal about a change of name.
Among the key sticking points during the 18 months of haggling that now appear to have been resolved are the amount of regional content in automobiles manufactured in the three countries.