The U.S. is out of TPP, NAFTA is under Discussion, Gas Protests

Getting the United States out of the Transpacific Partnership Pact was merely symbolic. The United States was a member of the pact but the treaty never advanced in legislative action. NAFTA is a matter of discussion and meetings still to come.

Trump signs order withdrawing from TPP, reinstate ‘Mexico City policy’ on abortion

President Donald Trump on Monday will start to unravel the behemoth trade deal he inherited from his predecessor, as he signed an executive action to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

That executive action sends signals to Democrats and leaders in foreign capitals around the world that Trump’s rhetoric on trade during the campaign is turning into action. Trump vowed during the campaign to withdraw the US from the Pacific trade deal, commonly known as TPP, which he argued was harmful to American workers and manufacturing.
The TPP was negotiated under former President Barack Obama, but never ratified by Congress, so withdrawing from it will not have an immediate, real effect on US economic policies, although it does signal a new and very different US outlook on trade under Trump.
The other executive actions signed Monday included reinstating the Mexico City abortion rules and instituting a hiring freeze for federal agencies. More here from CNN.

Washington (AFP) – US President Donald Trump pledged Sunday to begin renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement in upcoming talks with the leaders of Mexico and Canada.

“We’re meeting with the prime minister of Canada and we will be meeting with the president of Mexico, who I know, and we’re going to start some negotiations having to do with NAFTA,” Trump said while addressing White House staff on his second full day in office.

Trump will receive his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto on January 31. No date has been given for a meeting with Canada’s Justin Trudeau, but it is expected “soon,” according to a readout from a call between the two leaders on Saturday.

Trump praised the Mexican leader, saying: “The president has been really very amazing and I think we are going to have a very good result for Mexico, for the United States, for everybody involved. It’s very important.”

*** There is another major issue that has surfaced.


Mexico gas protests create havoc at US border crossing

Protesters took control of vehicle lanes at one of the busiest crossings on the U.S. border Sunday to oppose Mexican gasoline price hikes, waving through motorists into Mexico after Mexican authorities abandoned their posts.

Motorists headed to Mexico zipped by about 50 demonstrators at the Otay Mesa port of entry connecting San Diego and Tijuana, many of them honking to show support. The demonstrators waved signs to protest gas hikes and air other grievances against the government of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.

Other protests closed southbound traffic for hours at the San Diego-Tijuana San Ysidro port of entry, the busiest crossing along the 2,000-mile border, and halted southbound traffic at one of two crossings in Nogales, Arizona. U.S. Customs and Border Protection and California Highway Patrol officers closed southbound Interstate 5 to block access to the San Ysidro crossing, diverting traffic several miles east to the Otay Mesa port of entry.

Inspections were normal for all travelers entering the U.S. from Mexico. CBP officials didn’t immediately respond to a request seeking more information about the impact of the protests.

The demonstrations, which are unrelated to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, have disrupted Mexican border crossings for weeks. Earlier this month, police in the Mexican state of Sonora fought a pitched three-hour battle to free a border rail crossing at Nogales that had been blocked by people protesting the 20 percent nationwide hike in gasoline prices that took effect on New Year’s Day.

Only a small percentage of motorists entering Mexico from the U.S. are stopped for inspection under normal circumstances, but Sunday’s demonstration gave them an open invitation. Guns and cash from drug sales in the U.S. are often introduced to Mexico by car.

Protesters said Mexican customs officials retreated within minutes after they arrived at the Otay Mesa crossing. About two hours later, a Mexican soldier stood by, but there were few other signs of government presence.

“We’re exercising our right to free speech,” said Brenda Cortez, a 22-year-old college student from Tijuana. “It’s to make sure we are noticed.”

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Denise Simon