NAFTA revisions could pay for border wall

Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives for the first day of a cabinet retreat in London Ontario on Thursday Jan. 11 2018. The meeting comes a day after the loonie and Mexican peso plunged after reports tha

The Bank of Canada (BoC) Business survey released this week showed that Canadian companies are not suffering extra anxiety in their outlook due to their trade agreement, but as evidenced today the market does not share that optimism.

In a letter a year ago sent to the governors of NY and Wisconsin, the Canadian ambassador to Washington, David MacNaughton, cited data showing dairy trade between the countries benefits the a five-to-one margin.

But a senior Canadian government official said the idea that NAFTA is in trouble because of two chapters out of the 28 being negotiated is "total nonsense".

"If true, this is honestly a bomb for the Mexican peso", said Juan Carlos Rodado, the New York-based head of research at Natixis SA, about the possibility of US exiting the agreement.

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"We believe it is absolutely possible, if there is goodwill on all sides, to have a positive outcome in Montreal", she said.

The trade agreement is also used to set up the framework for the structure of visas for people who work in the United States and forms used for customs, meaning the impact of a USA departure would trigger a "tremendous adjustment period", he added. Now that it has become known that the NAFTA negotiations are not on a path towards success at all the BoC might refrain from further rate hikes so as to avoid putting additional pressure on the Canadian companies with higher interest rates and as a result a possibly stronger CAD. Trump would like to see up to 85 per cent of all components in autos being sourced from within the NAFTA region, with 50 per cent of the content coming from the U.S.

Market reaction to the reports that an exit is imminent will have given Trump pause for thought.

Trump has boasted about remarkable stock market performances frequently this month, tweeting last week that the Dow Jones passing 25,000 should be the "biggest story on earth!" The White House later said its policy hasn't changed.

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Trump also this week repeated his claims that the U.S. "Most likely the Canadians are reacting to the President's negotiating posture".

"They can pay for it indirectly through NAFTA", Trump told the Journal.

One of the Canadian government sources also said later it was not certain that Trump would move against the treaty and that Ottawa was prepared for many scenarios.

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