09:49 GMT +317 July 2019
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    U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the 37th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., May 15, 2018

    Trump’s Trade Rhetoric Intended to ‘Whip Up’ Voter Support Ahead of Key Election

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    US President Donald Trump’s aggressive rhetoric on trade, even with allies, is “part of tactical negotiations” intended to give the president cause for celebration prior to the November midterm congressional elections, an expert told Sputnik. But for all his tough talk, Trump “will accept something relatively minor with regard to the allies.”

    Trump faces a critical midterm election year, and the possibility that the Republican majorities in the US House and Senate could be lost to Democratic challengers, crippling the president's legislative agenda for the rest of his term. Crucial to the Republican effort to maintain its hold on Congress — or mitigate its losses — is continued support from Trump's voters.

    ​​Trump's "America first" trade agenda cannot be analyzed in isolation from this domestic component, said Jack Rasmus, professor of economics and politics at St. Mary's College of California, during a Friday interview on Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear with John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

    Following a meeting with Kim Yong Chol, the second most powerful official in North Korea, Trump briefed reporters on how the meeting went. After wishing reporters a farewell, Trump heard a question about the North American Free Trade Agreement that captivated his attention and immediately drew him back to the cameras. "NAFTA — look, it's been a terrible deal for the United States," the president said.

    "To be honest, I wouldn't mind seeing NAFTA where you'd go by a different name; you make a separate deal with Canada and a separate deal with Mexico… We lose a lot of money with Mexico and we lose a fortune with Canada. It's not going to happen like that anymore… Look, the American worker agrees with me," Trump added.

    "They're our allies, but they take advantage of us economically," he noted.

    ​​"With Trump, the objective is to get something to boast about and exaggerate before the November elections," professor Rasmus said, "and to whip up his base to get them to think he's doing something about ‘America first' economic nationalism."

    "Trump wants something better for US corporations. But I believe he will accept something relatively minor with regard to the allies," the political economist said.

    Ottawa lodged a complaint with the World Trade Organization Friday about US-imposed tariffs on metals that the Canadian government maintains are "illegal."

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    Tags:
    NAFTA, tariffs, trade, World Trade Organization (WTO), Kim Yong-chol, Donald Trump, Canada
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