Trump’s negotiating strategy

Since the entry of Donald Trump into the USA political landscape I don’t think anyone is complaining about politics being dull in that country.
Trump has to be the most unconventional personality to have ever been elected as president of that country. No one, even people from his own party, seem able to predict what he is going to come up with next.
His slogan is “America First”. That may mean many things or whatever he wants it to mean. He has talked about more jobs for the US, build a wall between the US and Mexico to prevent illegal immigration from Mexico and to protect US citizens from terrorism by curtailing immigration from some countries with a majority Muslim population.
He has always been very critical of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). When he was campaigning for the nomination of the Republican Party, then to become the president and when he was elected as president, he still insisted that NAFTA was a disaster without actually articulating why it was a disaster. He just said it was costing America millions of jobs.
When he was first elected as president, he indicated that the problem was with US jobs going to Mexico and that the agreement with Canada just needed to be tweaked.
All of a sudden he is now accusing the NAFTA agreement with Canada of being very unfair.
He has accused Canada of taking advantage of the “poor” US in the dairy, lumber and energy industries. It is difficult to figure out where he is coming from on these three issues.
Dairy and lumber are not part of the NAFTA agreement.
His criticism of the dairy industry has to do with Canada’s system of supply management.
Canada is protecting our dairy farmers from the competition of cheaper imports. The US still exports more into Canada than Canada exports into the US.
Last year the US trade surplus on dairy products was over 500 million dollars.
Considering that the US government subsidizes its dairy producers, I’m not sure what Trump is complaining about.
I think if Canada were to dismantle the supply management system which it should, then it would compete head on with US dairy producers. It is the Canadian consumers of dairy products that are subsidizing the dairy producers, not the government.
If he is successful in reducing lumber imports from Canada, he will simply increase the cost of housing to the American public and that could reduce American jobs.
As of April 25 he has imposed a 20 per cent import tax on Canadian lumber. It is the forth time this has gone to an international trade tribunal and in each case the US lost.
It will lose again but in the mean time jobs will be lost.
I don’t think anyone can figure out where Trump is coming from on the energy industry.
At the present time the US is purchasing oil at a 15 to 20 per cent discount to world oil price.
The oil that the US purchases from the Muslim oil producers is at the world oil price so why is he complaining about the price he is paying for Canadian oil?
If Canada ever gets a pipeline to tide water, our oil would then be selling to the US at world oil price.
We do know this is the reason that the Tides Foundation and other large US lobby organizations are financing the various groups who oppose a pipeline being built to tide water.
I’ve not seen it but I’ve been told that Trump wrote a book on the art of negotiation. I think that he is just blowing smoke on these NAFTA issues to gain an advantage on some other issue, or to divert the attention of the public away from something else that is a problematic issue at the present time.
I would guess his strategy is to play everyone for a sucker, including Trudeau. Stay tuned! Trump is making international politics interesting and possibly dangerous.

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