Experts worried by Trump’s repeated threats to end NAFTA over Mexico feud
PHOENIX — Valley experts said they were concerned when President Donald Trump tweeted a threat this weekend to end the North American Free Trade Agreement unless Mexico steps in to help control the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs.
Economist Jim Rounds said threats such as that must be taken seriously.
“In some cases, this stuff works when you’re negotiating,” he said. “When you’re dealing with the economy and people’s lives, you have to be careful. This isn’t a real estate deal.”
Glenn Hamer, the president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, said more than 100,000 Arizona jobs have ties to NAFTA and ending the deal would be bad news for the state.
“Obviously, for Arizona, eliminating NAFTA would be a terrible deal,” he said.
“There’s a lot of good work that’s been done to modernize this 25-year-old agreement and, at the end of the day, with a lot of turbulence, we’ll see a good, modernized deal. The numbers are so big, the supply chains so connected, NAFTA is so ingrained in all three of our economies.”
However, Rounds did not believe Trump would actually end NAFTA.
“I just think they’re taking a hard line on negotiations, but you never know with this administration,” he said.
The U.S., Canada and Mexico are currently renegotiating NAFTA at Trump’s insistence. Trump said NAFTA is bad for the U.S.
“Mexico has got to help us at the border,” Trump told reporters before he attended Easter services at an Episcopal church near his Palm Beach, Florida, home, as he held his wife, Melania’s, hand. “If they’re not going to help us at the border, it’s a very sad thing between our two countries.”
“A lot of people are coming in because they want to take advantage of [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals],” he added.
Trump also said a DACA deal was off the table during Sunday’s Twitter tirade.
The president also complained on Twitter that Border Patrol agents can’t do their jobs properly because of “ridiculous liberal (Democrat) laws” that allow people caught for being in the country illegally to be released while they await a hearing before a federal immigration judge.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.