Trade Deal to Possibly Replace NAFTA


TED: HERE NOW TO DISCUSS THIS TENTATIVE TRADE DEAL AND HOW IT MIGHT IMPACT ARIZONA, MARCO LOPEZ, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF INTERMESTIC PARTNERS, AND GLENN WILLIAMSON CEO AND FOUNDER OF THE CANADA-ARIZONA BUSINESS COUNCIL. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US. ALRIGHT WHAT IS THIS- IS THIS A NEW DEAL, NAFTA 2.0?

MARCO LOPEZ: IT'S A NEW DEAL, NAFTA 2.0, THAT COULD HAVE GOTTEN HERE 12 MONTHS AGO. I THINK THAT IT HAS TAKEN NEGOTIATORS 14 MONTHS TO WHERE MOST EXPERTS PREDICTED WE WERE GOING TO BE AT. THE HOLDOUT WAS -- AND I THINK GLENN IS A LITTLE BIT MORE FAMILIAR WITH THAT, BECAUSE IT WAS THE CANADIANS WHO PUSHED THE LINE UP UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE OF THE LAST SECOND OF THE GAME, AND UNFORTUNATELY -- OR FORTUNATELY THEY DID JOIN THE AGREEMENT. BUT OVERALL, IT IS JUST SIMPLY AN IMPROVEMENT. THEY BRUSHED IT OFF, ADDED SOME SIGNIFICANT MODERNIZATIONS, THAT I THINK SINCE '87 TO TODAY A LOT OF THINGS HAVE HAPPENED IN OUR ECONOMY AND IN THE TECHNOLOGICAL SPHERE WHICH ARE NOW REPRESENTED IN THE AGREEMENT. OTHER THAN THAT, NOTHING MAJOR.

TED: GLENN WHAT TOOK SO LONG?

GLENN WILLIAMSON: I THINK CANADA KNEW THERE WAS ALWAYS GOING TO BE DRAMATIC MOMENTS. CANADA HAD A SERIES OF THINGS THAT IT TRULY WANTED TO HAVE INVOLVED, ENVIRONMENTAL, CULTURAL. THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF TIME AND EFFORT ON THE -- THE TRIBAL AND INDIAN AND FIRST NATIONS ISSUES, AND THESE WERE THINGS THAT WERE NEAR AND DEAR TO CANADA, AND THEY SPENT A LOT OF TIME ON THE NONECONOMIC PART OF IT AT THE VERY BEGINNING.

TED: DID CANADA GET THESE THINGS? BECAUSE THE GENERAL CONSENSUS IS THAT CANADA AND MEXICO MADE MAJOR CONCESSIONS, ESPECIALLY CANADA.

GLEN WILLIAMSON: CANADA'S CONCESSIONS ARE DAIRY, WHICH IS SOMETHING THAT IS VERY CONCERNING TO THE DAIRY FARMERS. MATTER OF FACT, AS WE SPEAK, ABOUT 15 MINUTES AGO A CHANGE OF GOVERNMENT JUST OCCURRED IN QUEBEC, WHICH IS WHERE THE DAIRY INDUSTRY HAS AN AWFUL LOT GOING ON. AND THE LIBERALS HAVE LOST THERE. SO THE PRIME MINISTER'S PARTY JUST LOST QUEBEC. SO THERE ARE RAMIFICATIONS TO -- WHAT MARCO ALLUDED TO, COULD HAVE BEEN DONE 12, OR 13 MONTHS AGO. WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT TPP AND THE VARIABLES THAT HAVE GONE INTO THIS, THE BIGGER AND MORE CONCERNING ISSUE TO ME IS THE 232 STEEL AND ALUMINUM TARIFFS ARE STILL HANGING OVER THIS NEGOTIATION?

TED: WHY?

MARCO LOPEZ: WELL, LOOK, I THINK THAT IS CERTAINLY AN ISSUE THAT THEY PUSHED OFF TO FURTHER DISCUSS. THEY WEREN'T GOING TO GET IT ADDRESSED AND CONCLUDED BY THE DEADLINE THIS WEEKEND, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY THAN THAT, I THINK THAT IT SETS AN INTERESTING TONE, TED, THAT THE BULLYING TACTICS THAT THE PRESIDENT DISPLAYED OVER THE COURSE OF THE LAST 13 MONTHS, AND THAT WE HAVE SEEN WITH OTHER COUNTRIES HAVE WORKED FOR MEXICO AND CANADA. SO HE HAS REACHED THE CONCLUSION OF A BULLYING SESSION THAT HAS TAKEN ON -- THAT HAS GONE ON FOR 13 MONTHS. WILL THAT WORK, THOUGH, WHEN YOU HAVE LARGER ECONOMIES, LARGER WORLD POWERS THAT HAVE DIFFERENT AGENDAS THAT ARE DISTINCT FROM YOUR NEIGHBORS? SO, I MEAN, IN OUR OWN BACKYARD, WE TREAT OUR NEIGHBORS DIFFERENTLY THAN WE TREAT SOMEONE FURTHER AWAY THAT WE CAN PICK ON AND BULLY. THAT'S WHAT I THINK IS INTERESTING AS A WORLD -- AND THAT THE WORLD IS GOING TO OBSERVE NOW, AS TO WHAT ENDS UP HAPPENING WITH THE LEGISLATURES OF ALL COUNTRIES.

TED: IT SEEMS AS THOUGH THE THREAT OF TARIFFS ON AUTO IMPORTS, JUST HANGING THAT OUT THERE WAS THE BIGGY AS FAR AS GETTING CANADA TO AGREE, IT MAY HAVE BEEN AN 11:59:59 BUT THEY DID AGREE. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

GLENN WILLIAMSON: I THINK ANY TIME YOU THREATEN A COUNTRY WITH SOMETHING OF THAT MAGNITUDE, THAT COUNTRY HAS TO SIT BACK AND PAY ATTENTION. THERE IS A REASON WHY THIS WENT TO 11:59 IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT. CANADA LIVES OFF OF ITS TRADING GLOBALLY. AND I THINK THIS WAS SO SIGNIFICANT, THAT IT GOT EVERYBODY'S ATTENTION, AND THE DEADLINE MADE EVERYBODY MOVE A LITTLE BIT QUICKER, AND I THINK THAT BOTH SIDES IN THE CANADA COMPONENT, ACQUIESCED ON CERTAIN SIDES THAT THEY WERE TRYING TO DO. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY TO ME, TED, IS THIS IS A COUNTRY THAT HAS FOUGHT IN EVERY SINGLE WAR EXCEPT THE MIDDLE EAST WITH THE UNITED STATES. THIS COUNTRY COEXISTED WITH NORAD. SO THE BROADER RELATIONSHIP WITH CANDA AND THE UNITED STATES WAS TRULY AT STAKE OVER ONE NEGOITATING AGREEMENT.

TED: IS THAT RELATIONSHIP STILL THERE? IS IT STRONG AS EVER?

GLENN WILLIAMSON: BUSINESSES ARE HAPPY THE UNCERTAINTY IS A LITTLE BIT MORE CERTAIN. THERE ARE SOME REALLY TICKED OFF CANADIANS THAT THEIR COUSINS DID THIS.

TED: WELL, THERE BE TICKED OFF ARIZONANS ABOUT THIS WHOLE DEAL? HOW DOES THIS CHANGE FOR AN ARIZONA BUISNESS PERSON?

MARCO LOPEZ: LOOK, SO WE KNOW THAT 130,000 JOBS IN ARIZONA DEPEND ON YOUR TRADE RELATIONSHIP WITH MEXICO AND CANADA, THE CLOSEST OBVIOUSLY IS MEXICO. IN THE AREAS THAT HAD PROBLEMS, OR THERE WAS FRICTION, WHETHER IT BE AUTOMOTIVE OR DAIRY, THE TWO LARGEST ONES THAT MOST PEOPLE FOCUSED ON AS A CONFLICT. WE DON'T DEPEND HEAVILY ON THOSE INDUSTRIES IN ARIZONA. WHAT WE DO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO, TED, IS TAKE SOME OF THE MODERNIZATION AROUND IP SAFEGUARDS, AND COPYRIGHTING, AND WE CAN NOW UTILIZE SOME OF THOSE NEW SECURITIES THAT WERE ADDED TO HELP RECRUIT COMPANIES TO ARIZONA SO THAT WE CAN HELP THEM GROW AND EXPAND INTERNATIONALLY. I THINK THAT'S THE KEY OF WHERE ARIZONA MIGHT WIN. I'M TRYING TO LOOK FOR THE POSITIVE IN ALL OF THIS FOR A STATE, AND A STATE THAT HAS THIS GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR NEIGHBOR TO THE SOUTH, I SEE THAT AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RECRUIT COMPANIES OR CONTINUE TO RECRUIT COMPANIES IN THE TECHNOLOGY SPACE TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE SAFEGUARDS NOW THAT NAFTA 2.0 HAS IN THERE FOR THEM.

TED: REAL QUICKLY, WE HAVE TALKED ABOUT CANADA A LOT. WE'RE NOT HEARING MUCH ABOUT MEXICO AT ALL. THEY SEEM PRETTY HAPPY WITH THIS WHOLE DEAL.

MARCO LOPEZ: I THINK THEY ARE FAIRLY HAPPY. I THINK THE PRESIDENT-ELECT WAS PART OF THE CORE US OF SAYING LET'S GET THIS DONE. LET'S HAVE THE CURRENT PRESIDENT SIGN THE AGREEMENT BEFORE HE LEAVES OFFICE ON NOVEMBER 29TH, SO THAT THEN WE CAN CONCLUDE WITH THE UNCERTAINTY THAT GLENN TALKS ABOUT. I THINK FOR BUSINESSES THAT ARE INVESTED DEEPLY IN MEXICO, THEIR POINT IS, THIS SETTLES THAT UNCERTAINTY, HELP US TO USHER IN A NEW ADMINISTRATION DECEMBER 1ST IN MEXICO THAT IS LIMITED. THEY ARE BE JUGGLING A LOT OF DIFFERENT PROBLEMS. THIS IS ONE THAT NOW THEY DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT.

TED: LAST QUESTION. OBVIOUSLY CANADIANS, A LOT OF THEM WERE TICKED OFF ABOUT ALL OF THIS, BUT THE PRESIDENT SAYS IT IS THE BEST WAY TO REMOVE TRADE RESTRICTIONS AND IT’S THE BEST WAY TO ALLOW FOR MORE IN THE WAY OF U.S. INVESTMENTS. DOES HE HAVE A HOPE?

GLENN WILLIAMSON: YES, HE DOES. CANADIANS INCREASED TOURISM LAST YEAR, BY 1 MILLION VISITORS FROM CANADA TO THE UNITED STATES. SO DURING THESE NEGOTIATIONS, SO CANADIANS STILL COME TO THE UNITED STATES. ONE NEEDS TO SEPARATE THE POLITICAL RHETORIC FROM THE REAL AFFINITY BETWEEN CANADIANS AND AMERICANS AT THE CORE LEVEL. MODERNIZING AN AGREEMENT IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT. BUT BEYOND THAT, CANADA IS STILL THE LARGEST FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTOR ON THIS CONTINENT IN THE UNITED STATES. AND CONTINUES, TED, MY COMPANY, WE HAVE INVESTED OVER A BILLION DOLLARS IN THIS STATE, AND MANY OF OUR PIERS CONTINUE TO DO THAT IN SPITE OF ALL OF THIS.

TED: I ONLY HAVE TIME FOR A YES OR NO. DOES THIS VALIDATE A TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT VALIDATING STYLE.

MARCO LOPEZ: FOR NOW. YES.

TED: THANK YOU BOTH FOR BEING HERE. LATER A PERFORMANCE FROM THE BLACK THEATRE TROUPE PRODUCTION OF "THE WIZ."

The U.S., Mexico and Canada have come to an agreement on a trade deal that could possibly replace NAFTA. President Trump, the Mexican president and Canadian prime minister are expected to sign the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, deal by the end of November. The deal still needs the final approval by Congress as well. Marco Lopez, president and CEO of Intermestic Partners and Glenn Williamson, CEO and Founder of the Canada Arizona Business Council, give us their impressions of the new proposed trade deal.

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Marco Lopez, president and CEO of Intermestic Partners and Glenn Williamson, CEO and Founder of the Canada Arizona Business Council

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