Trump’s Tariff Threats May Affect Future Negotiations

Wendy Cutler on NPR

ASPI Vice President Wendy Cutler joined Marie Louise Kelly of NPR’s All Thing’s Considered to discuss the recent U.S. trade talks with Mexico and China.

Cutler thinks that other countries will have taken note of President Trump’s recent tariff threats to Mexico. “The takeaway for China and our other trading partners is that you can’t count on the United States as a reliable trading partner,” states Cutler. She notes that the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the successor to the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) currently pending ratification, was meant to provide certainty for businesses, but Trump's threats undermine that certainty and raise questions over market access guarantees for other U.S. trading partners as well. In addition, Cutler believes that the linking of tariffs – a trade tool – to non-trade issues like immigration is worrisome, as other countries may take the possibility of such linkages into consideration in future trade negotiations with the United States.

Cutler suggests that the Trump administration's strategy to keep its counterparts off balance may backfire. “I’ve been an unpredictable negotiator as well. It’s a great tactic…but I think the key point is that unpredictability works up to a certain point. And then it really starts to have negative results.”

Listen to the full interview on All Things Considered.