As the United States, Canada and Mexico kick off negotiations on Wednesday to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement, the biggest uncertainty is whether a deal can pass President Donald Trump's ''America First'' test. As Shawn Hassett reports Trump has threatened to tear up the agreement blaming it for taking away American jobs.
It's only the first round of talks on modernising the North American Free trade agreement, but it seems everyone's waiting for the knock-out blow. That, could be landed by U.S. President Donald Trump who's previously blamed NAFTA for shuttering U.S. factories and sending jobs to low-wage Mexico Any new deal would need his seal of approval. (SOUNDBITE) (English) GLOBAL FINANCIAL ECONOMIST, COMMERZBANK, PETER DIXON, SAYING: "NAFTA has been a huge boom to the likes of Mexico and Canada and clearly they would like to see the status quo being maintained, but that said I think it has also been been fairly beneficial for U.S. companies which have managed to outsource a lot of low cost production And I don't think although it's fair to say that nothing has been the job killer that President Trump thinks he thinks it is." Trade between the U.S.-Canada-Mexico has quadrupled in the 23 years since NAFTA began. Surpassing $1 trillion in 2015. Trump though has been threatening to scrap it, unless it can be reworked in the United States favour. He wants to shrink the $64 billion goods trade deficit with Mexico, as well as a much smaller $11 billion deficit with Canada. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MEXICAN ECONOMY MINISTER, ILDEFONSO GUAJARDO VILLARREAL, SAYING: "I have always said that the negotiations can not be unrealistic, they have to be realistic. It has to be realistic with a positive approach." Another major sticking point likely to be a dispute-resolving mechanism. It settles complaints about illegal subsidies and dumping and has often ruled against the U.S. Trump wants it gone - but Canada says it will walk away from the table if the U.S. pushes for its removal. Any delay would frustrate Mexico which wants negotiations wrapped up before the 2018 election campaign begins, to avoid NAFTA from becoming a political punching bag.