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Senior Contributor

NAFTA negotiators

Apparently the negotiators do not mind 'fibbing' about numbers. Not telling the truth seems to be going around at this time.  When they do not respond when the 'errors' are pointed out......... 

Big problem negotiating with people who act like used car salesmen that you can not trust.

I see many articles about the harm to US agriculture if NAFTA is scrapped.



site link 

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been including goods that pass through Canada but don't originate here as Canadian exports in his export calculations, artificially inflating the United States' trade deficit in goods with Canada.


the USTR is counting the same goods twice. For example, a Chinese washing machine that passes through the port of Vancouver on its way to the United States is being counted in both the U.S. trade deficit with China and in the U.S. goods deficit with Canada.

And while Lighthizer is counting that washing machine as part of Canada's surplus with the U.S., the product is already paying tariffs as a Chinese import.

The volume of pass-through goods being added to real Canadian exports in the USTR's math is about US$75 billion. That's roughly equal to the entire GDP of Kenya.


Canadian officials said they don't believe Lighthizer is genuinely confused about the balance of trade and suggest that U.S. officials may be reacting in annoyance to having official U.S. statistics used against them in NAFTA talks.

Susan Aaronson, a research professor at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University, said she thinks political appointees may be behind the USTR's use of bogus numbers.

"The staff of USTR has remained and they are competent and many of them are deeply concerned by this sort of manipulation of statistics," she said.

"Is it wilful intent, or is it sloppiness? I think it can be both. While Ambassador Lighthizer is no amateur, many of his appointees are in over their heads and don't know what they're doing."