Former US, Canadian, and Mexican officials make pitch to keep strategic trade dealUS President Donald Trump has called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) “the worst trade deal,” but former US, Canadian, and Mexican officials, speaking at the Atlantic Council on February 22, warned against abandoning the strategic deal that binds their three nations while acknowledging that it is in need of an update.
“NAFTA should be updated… the world has changed, the market has changed in twenty-three years,” said Carlos Gutierrez, who served as US Commerce Secretary in the George W. Bush administration. “This is an area where the United States can have a significant advantage if we can negotiate a better agreement where it’s not a zero-sum game,” he added.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly were in Mexico on February 22 and 23. Paula Stern, who served as chairwoman of the US International Trade Commission in the Reagan administration, said the visit by the senior Trump administration officials provided an opportunity to lay the groundwork for updating NAFTA.
US President Donald Trump has been clear about his support for fossil fuels. Though his stance on renewable energy remains ambiguous, his comments about withdrawing from international climate agreements and his championing of the coal and oil industries suggest that the Trump administration may not be especially supportive of domestic wind and solar industries. While Trump may find the domestic advance of renewables hard to stop, the United States risks ceding its international leadership role in clean energy to China.
US President Donald Trump’s administration is not bound by any progress made in the TTIP negotiations by the previous Obama administration. TTIP was removed from the official White House website after Trump took office on January 20.
However, while he was quick to take the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), another free-trade agreement with Pacific Rim countries, Trump has been largely silent on TTIP. Renegotiating NAFTA has, instead, been his stated priority.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Voice of America launch a Russian-language news networkThe flurries of disinformation and fake news obfuscating the current state of affairs in Russia, and the Kremlin’s activity worldwide, have not created a post-truth world, but one in which some find truth increasingly difficult to promote.
“I think we’ve given up on truth way too easily,” said Amanda Bennett, director of Voice of America. Countering the notion that facts are no longer valuable, she said: “to assume the rest of the world doesn’t understand true things and can’t sort out truth and fact… I don’t think that makes it a post-truth world, I just think it makes it more difficult to get the truth out there.”
“In a global information warzone where fake news and false narratives are the weapon of choice… honest and accurate reporting [is] the best defense against falsehoods,” said John Lansing, director of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Netanyahu: And I believe that the great opportunity for peace comes from a regional approach from involving our newfound Arab partners in the pursuit of a broader peace and peace with the Palestinians. And I greatly look forward to discussing this in detail with you, Mr. President, because I think that if we work together, we have a shot.
Trump: And we have been discussing that, and it is something that is very different, hasn't been discussed before. And it's actually a much bigger deal, a much more important deal, in a sense. It would take in many, many countries and it would cover a very large territory. So, I didn't know you were going to be mentioning that, but that's—now that you did, I think it's a terrific thing and I think we have some pretty good cooperation from people that in the past would never, ever have even thought about doing this. So we'll see how that works out.
“My heart is with the Congolese people,” Katumbi said on February 16 at a meeting hosted by the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. “I look forward to returning to my country and working toward our first democratic transition and the establishment of enduring democracy, prosperity, and peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.”
Democrats Abroad boasts a healthy contingent of active members in major European capitals, staging events and teeing up national elections every four years. In Brussels, Republicans Overseas, the GOP counterpart, has been represented by one man: Michael Kulbickas.
“We have to all band together to make sure that this Internet, this cyberspace… will be a peaceful movement around the world from which we all benefit,” he said.
In light of the Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential elections, and concern looking ahead to upcoming elections in Europe in 2017—in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and possibly Italy—it has become necessary to establish a legal framework for the international community to understand a common set of rules of the road in cyberspace.
As indicated by Trump’s rhetoric, the new US administration seems ready to give up the principles of openness, not just in the sphere of economics, that have greatly benefited the entire world. Future generations of Europeans and Americans will pay for this mistake if leaders on both sides of the Atlantic do not pave the way for an alternative agreement, keeping the talks alive. The new reality calls for a rethinking of TTIP, not its abandonment.