As US shocks with NAFTA demands other countries asking What does Trump

ARLINGTON, United States — The chief U.S. negotiator shrugged his shoulders when asked about signs of trouble in the NAFTA talks on Sunday. John Melle pulled open a door, entered a work room, and offered a one-word reply about how it’s going.“Fabulous,” he said.Upon leaving those rooms, people are saying the exact opposite. The No. 1 discussion topic at this current round is whether Melle’s team is being ordered to sabotage the talks, so President Donald Trump can declare NAFTA has failed.That’s because the U.S. team has unfurled a half-dozen bombshells so far beyond the realm of what’s palatable to the other parties that it’s all but exploded earlier hopes of a quick, easy negotiation.The other countries are scrutinizing the body language of U.S. negotiators as they present ideas like a sunset clause that could end NAFTA after five years; ask to gut the deal’s enforcement mechanisms; and pursue non-starter ideas on dairy, textiles, automobiles and Buy American rules.Some of these American negotiators built the very agreement they’re now proposing to strip down. Melle has even praised NAFTA’s successes. One non-U.S. official described the body language of American negotiators as: “Kind of sheepish. They say, ‘We don’t have any flexibility on this.”‘Another used an analogy: “The (U.S.) negotiators are like lawyers who hate their clients.”Everyone is now watching Donald Trump.The president has repeatedly stated his desire to invoke NAFTA’s termination clause, allowing him to cancel the deal on six months’ notice, in order to scare other countries into making concessions.It would fit a tactic Trump has been accused of: Break now, fix later.Critics have said Trump used this strategy on health care, undocumented young migrants, and the Iran nuclear deal — breaking an existing policy, then ordering others to put together a replacement, in a hurry, before a deadline hits, and chaos ensues.Could he try it on NAFTA?A front-page New York Times article on Sunday on Trump’s approach concludes with an analyst comparing Iran and NAFTA.Iran’s foreign minister sees parallels himself.Javad Zarif linked the NAFTA scrap to the one involving his country in an interview that aired Sunday: “This administration is withdrawing from everything. Somebody called it the, ‘Withdrawal Doctrine,’ for this administration. It’s withdrawing from NAFTA. It’s withdrawing from Trans Pacific Partnership. It’s withdrawing from UNESCO,” Zarif said in a CBS interview.“So people cannot trust anymore the word of the United States. You see, in order to bring United States on board for many of these international agreements, a lot of people make a lot of concessions. Now nobody is going to make any concessions to the United States because they know that the next U.S. president will come back and say, ‘It wasn’t enough.”‘The Canadian and Mexican governments intend to sit through the storm.They say there are no plans to walk out, or make aggressive counter-demands, like pushing their own non-starters — such as free trade in softwood lumber. They say they’re better off working patiently.Officials do profess to being perplexed about Trump’s goal.Several Canadians said it’s unclear: Is Trump trying to get other countries to leave the table, declare talks have failed, and invoke NAFTA’s six-month termination clause? Or is this just overly dramatic early bargaining — a la, “Art of the Deal”?But one thing is increasingly clear, they say: hopes are fading for a quick deal by Christmas.“Do we want a deal? Yes. Do we want a quick deal? Yes,” one official said. “But are we gonna take any deal just to wrap up quickly? Obviously not. If it takes more time, it takes more time.”The initial rush for an agreement was prompted by the political calendar, as some worried that if a deal wasn’t completed by the time national election campaigns start in Mexico and the U.S. next year, it won’t happen before 2019.And that would mean an extra year of uncertainty watching Trump — scrutinizing whether he’s readying to pull the plug on NAFTA.That lingering uncertainty over NAFTA, coupled with homeowners’ concerns about possible interest hikes, are acting as drags on an otherwise strong economy, the Bank of Canada governor said last weekend.“These are sources of angst,” Stephen Poloz told reporters.He said it’s hard to predict the economic impact of a NAFTA termination. He said the bank’s own models rely on research from people like Dan Ciuriak, who assesses the impact of different tariffs on business decision-making.Ciuriak used to run the computer-modelling unit at Canada’s foreign-affairs ministry. Now a private consultant, he happens to be working on such a study about what would happen under different scenarios — ranging from the end of NAFTA, to the end of all trade deals with the U.S.He’s still crunching the numbers, and won’t publish for another couple of weeks.But his early estimate is that ending free trade would slice 2.5 per cent from the Canadian economy. He says the initial shock might be more severe.“That’s the ballpark,” said Ciuriak, who will publish his study with the C.D. Howe Institute.“That actual pathway to that (eventual) figure may be worse.” read more

ColtsTexans Preview Capsule

INDIANAPOLIS (6-6) at HOUSTON (9-3)Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, CBSOPENING LINE – Texans by 3 1/2RECORD VS. SPREAD – Indianapolis 5-6-1, Houston 6-6SERIES RECORD – Colts lead 25-8LAST MEETING – Texans beat Colts 37-34, OT, Sept. 30.LAST WEEK – Colts lost to Jaguars 6-0; Texans beat Browns 29-13AP PRO32 RANKING – Colts No. 15, Texans No. 5COLTS OFFENSE – OVERALL (9), RUSH (20), PASS (10).COLTS Defence – OVERALL (11), RUSH (12), PASS (15).TEXANS OFFENSE – OVERALL (12), RUSH (3), PASS (22).TEXANS Defence – OVERALL (10), RUSH (5), PASS (18).STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – Colts have won five of last six to climb back into playoff hunt. … Indianapolis has won three of last four against Texans in series in which last eight games were decided by seven or fewer points. … Colts have scored at least 24 points in eight games this season — trailing only Kansas City (12) and New Orleans (9). … Indy is only NFL team to force at least one turnover in each game this season. … Andrew Luck returns to hometown one week after being shut out for first time in NFL career, snapping five-game winning streak. … Luck became 11th player in league history to throw for 450 yards and four TDs in season’s first meeting with Texans. … Eric Ebron needs eight receptions and 123 yards to set career bests and one TD catch to break Dallas Clark’s single-season Colts’ record for tight ends. … Ebron’s next score also will make him fifth tight end in league history with 13 TDs in one season. … Rookie LB Darius Leonard leads league in tackles (122) and is tied for fourth in forced fumbles (4). … K Adam Vinatieri could become third player in NFL history to appear in 350 career games. Vinatieri needs two field goals from 40-49 yards to break Gary Anderson’s career record (161). … Texans are first team in NFL history to win nine straight games after opening season 0-3. Nine-game winning streak is franchise record and longest active streak in league. … QB Deshaun Watson has 11 touchdown passes with just two interceptions in last five games. … RB Lamar Miller had 103 yards rushing last week and has 537 yards of offence and three touchdowns in last five home games. … Rookie TE Jordan Thomas had touchdown reception last week and has four TD catches in last five games. … Rookie WR Keke Coutee, who sat out last week with hamstring injury, had 11 catches for 109 yards in last meeting with Colts. … DE J.J. Watt had two sacks and forced two fumbles in last game against Indianapolis. … Watt is tied for fourth in NFL with 11 1/2 sacks. … DE Jadeveon Clowney had two sacks and fumble recovery for touchdown in last meeting with Colts. … Fantasy tip: Houston WR DeAndre Hopkins had 91 yards receiving last week and had 10 receptions for season-high 169 yards and touchdown in last game against Indianapolis.___More AP NFL: and Associated Press read more