No Chance For NAFTA Now

No Chance For NAFTA Now

It’s happening. The on-again-off-again trade deal to end NAFTA – the longstanding trilateral agreement between Mexico, the US, and Canada – has happened.

At least in principle.

Given how hot the North American Free Trade Agreement potato has become it not surprising it got dropped. But what does this mean?

Enter the three-legged BBQ  (or, Big Beautiful Quota).

With no chance of a good NAFTA, a new trilateral trade pact is sorely needed. Enter the three-legged BBQ  (or, Big Beautiful Quota). Thanks to some canny negotiating by the three Nations, it can handle hot potatoes with ease.

How will it work? Simply put, people in each of these three countries can bring their goods (think: beans, bread, butter, and other dairy products) to the BBQ and come away satisfied.

All sorts of products can come and go, while it’s no free for all, the conditions seem a lot more generous. At least, from a US point of view. 

After 100,000 hours in negotiations, the three nations have agreed it’s good to get together and share their best. So, future plans are afoot to extend the BBQ range as negotiations continue.

Despite a rocky start when none of the three countries wanted to talk turkey, things are looking up.

The BBQ ambassadors for Canada are now openly discussing the prospects of setting up micro BBQ arrangements with other regions (such as the Caribbean). Their hope is that by chewing the fat with these smaller nations, they’ll be able to break down barriers. The goal? Create a climate for cross border trade and economic growth.

While the collapse of NAFTA posed major problems to Nth American trade, the new three-legged BBQ proposal is getting widespread attention.

“We think we can bring people round once they see what’s on offer”, Richard Crayniam – US Senior Trade Envoy, told an eager media scrum in Washington yesterday. “Once US corporation heads discover what Mexico has put on the table, I’m sure they’ll be excited. That’s because BBQ offers us the whole enchalada. Nobody is going leave the table hungry after they see what these deals can do.”

While most of the talk is upbeat, critics, like Bhymey Fisch from IFLAP  (the International Federation of Listed Accountants who Ponder), admit the new BBQ approach sounds appealing, but is seriously light on detail.

“We don’t know what’s coming out until it’s on the table. And BBQ is more like a cover up for potluck decisionmaking on the run”, “I don’t know about the Mexicans and the Canadians, but US citizens deserve better than this.”

Fisch says IFLAP is spoiling for a fight to highlight the fact NAFTA was in no way the hot potato it was made out to be. If anything, NAFTA could have kept going ad infinitum and, aside from a few issues, was a solid way to keep America humming.

Government enthusiasm for the BBQ approach is gathering momentum.

He conceded conflict between the US and Canadian dairy industries needed work, but in no way was BBQ going to serve a better offering than NAFTA. At least not from a jobs perspective. With some key figures throwing around figures of an extra 1.3 billion jobs in the next 3 years, Fisch isn’t biting.

For now, though, Government enthusiasm for the BBQ approach is gathering momentum. Not surprisingly, industry sector heads are eager to grill them on the details to find out what’s really on offer.

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