The Trump administration is in danger of making a ‘huge’ mistake in Nafta talks

Five of seven planned rounds of negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement recently concluded in Mexico City, yet we remain far from a deal. As an investment banker and trade negotiator who has seen many deals crater because one party overplayed its hand, risk of a failed negotiation is real.

The toughest issues in a complicated negotiation are often saved for last. Still unresolved are the so-called "poison pills" that the administration has positioned as take-it-or-leave-it items. Those include the proposed sunset clause, which dissolves the agreement after five years if the three countries do not agree to continue it, and unrealistic demands that 50 percent of car parts come from the U.S.

The Trump administration's tough posture and its apparent willingness to pull out of Nafta is the result of its notion that our relationship with many of our trading partners, and Mexico in particular, is a net loss for American businesses and workers and a zero-sum game for our economy. Clips of President Trump claiming that Mexico is "killing us on jobs and trade" play on a loop on cable news and social media daily.

But to use the current administration's vernacular, this is "fake news." The reality is that when it comes to renegotiating Nafta, the best way for the administration to deliver on its promise of putting America first, is to put North America first.

Read the rest of the post here.

Why Trump’s ‘Art of the Deal’ diplomacy won’t work in China

President Trump campaigned on and was elected in part because of his deal-making acumen. These are skills he says will lead to better deals for American businesses and workers.

As the president embarks on his first trip to Asia, the administration will showcase its deal-making skills with some of our nation's most important trading partners, particularly China. If his rhetoric (or recent NAFTA negotiations) is any guide, the administration's approach will be highly transactional – extending "asks" to the Chinese to receive "gets" to advance our interests.

But as an investment banker for nearly 30 years before joining the Obama administration – an appointment that had me regularly (and successfully) negotiating with the Chinese -- I believe success will depend on commercial diplomacy, not on transactional deal-making.

I say that for four primary reasons. Read the rest of the post here.

Why Trade Should Be Core To Trump's Pro-Growth Economic Policy

The administration's action's on trade—including withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), threats to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), considering tariffs on Mexican and Chinese imports, as well as a border adjustment tax—reflect the mistaken assumption that trade is a zero-sum game.

The truth is that there is no path to robust, sustainable, inclusive economic growth that does not embrace global trade and investment. And with 95% of global consumers outside of our borders, trade is fundamental to maintaining American competitiveness in a global marketplace.

Read more here.