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    Trump Enjoys Domestic Political Support to Transform NAFTA - Wall Street Analyst

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    President Donald Trump believes he enjoys a strong mandate from his political base to renegotiate the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), Wall Street analyst and Trends Research Institute head Gerald Celente told Sputnik.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US, Canadian and Mexican officials earlier this week started the first of seven rounds of meetings to renegotiate NAFTA.

    "We believe that Trump is serious about this," Celente said on Friday. "This is a Trump plus: The people want it. Under the NAFTA Agreement the president has a lot of authority so it really is going to be renegotiated."

    Trump’s chief negotiator US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the president believed NAFTA had fundamentally failed many Americans, he observed.

    The president believed the agreement needed drastic revisions to ensure US recovery and long-term prospects as a major manufacturing nation, Celente warned.

    "This isn’t about isolationism or protectionism. It is about national self-sustainability," he said. "It’s all about business: That’s all it was ever about."

    Celente observed that Trump’s choice of Lighthizer as both Trade Representative and chief negotiator in the trade talks confirmed his determination to radically overhaul the 23-year deal.

    "The person he has brought in to renegotiate the agreement, Robert Lighthizer has been a very critical of it for many years. He has been critical of the unemployment, closed factories and thousands of factories that have moved out of the United States as a result of the deal," he said.

    Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have overwhelmingly supported NAFTA. However, the very low overall public standing of Congress with the US public was likely to mute their opposition to Trump, Celente projected.

    "Lighthizer is 100 percent right: That is why so many people voted for Trump: It’s the economy stupid," he said, echoing Bill Clinton’s political strategist James Carville during the 1992 election campaign.

    The Trump administration and other NAFTA critics say the agreement encouraged manufacturers to move south of the border to take advantage of lower-wage Mexican labor. Lighthizer said that at least 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs because of the way NAFTA rerouted commerce.

    Trump was still determined to try and deliver to his supporters the policies on which they had elected him and scrapping or radically reforming NAFTA remained a critical component of that strategy, Celente explained.

    "What are the consequences of these liberal free trade policies [that produced NAFTA]? Median US income is now at 1999 levels. 51 percent of all people working fulltime in America now earn only $30,000 or less. Household ownership is at a 50 year low," he stated.

    President Clinton claimed in the 1990s that NAFTA would generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generate the US-Mexico border region with new prosperity but the opposite had happened, Celente pointed out.

    "How can anybody say this has benefitted America? No qualitative analysis can justify it. Show me the benefits of NAFTA for the American people. They don’t exist," he said.

    Lighthizer was not renegotiating NAFTA in isolation within the Trump administration but was part of a far broader strategy approved by Trump that included serious efforts spearheaded by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Roiss to restructure the pat terms of US-China trade as well, Celente noted.

    "Wilbur Ross at Commerce is handling trade negotiations with China and Lighthizer is leading the NAFTA negotiations. You have a strong team in there. It is going to renegotiate the lot," he said.

    The NAFTA negotiations confirmed that Trump was sincere in wanting to make economic national interests the main priority in his approach to international relations, despite facing major pressures against him, Celente added.

    "Once again the business of America is business: it remains to be seen how long Trump will be able to sustain that," he said.

    Celente also cautioned that Trump’s own administration also contained many determined free traders including his economic adviser Gary Cohn.

    Related:

    Trump Threatens to Terminate NAFTA if Talks Fail to Produce Good Deal
    Mexico Optimistic About NAFTA Free Trade Talks With US
    Upcoming NAFTA Negotiations Could Prove Beneficial to Mexico - IMF Official
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    NAFTA, Donald Trump, United States
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