DETROIT FREE PRESS: Mack McLarty and John Negroponte on why a NAFTA without Canada is unthinkable

Former White House Chief of Staff and former Special Envoy for the Americas under President Clinton, Mack McLarty, and former U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, Amb. John Negroponte, provided a commentary on ongoing NAFTA negotiations.

Detroit Free Press
September 16, 2018

While negotiations to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and to allow President Trump to put his fingerprints on the new deal drag on, a key question is how Canada will be integrated into the U.S./Mexico agreement announced late last last month. One of us was President George H.W. Bush’s Ambassador to Mexico during the original NAFTA talks, the other was President Clinton’s Chief of Staff that helped push NAFTA through the Congress. Indeed, NAFTA was one of the first examples of our forging a consistent, bipartisan consensus on trade policy — a consensus that has badly frayed over the years, to the point of now being in tatters.

Controversy over the right way to construct trade policy to benefit American workers and farmers has remained a constant over the years. As congressional leaders and investors in North America today stress the need to include Canada in the final NAFTA 2.0, it is interesting to recall that how to structure the trade agreement was also a question back in 1990.