“Air of Optimism” in NAFTA Negotiations
January 29, 2018
NAFTA talks progress as sixth round ends; FCC Chairman Pai opposed Trump Whitehouse’s national 5G network plan; December consumer spending higher, with savings at decade low.
- NAFTA talks progress as sixth round ends. As the sixth round of negotiations for the North Atlantic Free Trade Agreement wraps, Republican chairman of the House Subcommittee on Trade Dave Reichert reports there is an “air of optimism” to the negotiations with discussion of additional rounds and significant progress on key issues thus far. The three national trade representatives from the US, Canada, and Mexico will meet privately in Montreal Monday, before issuing a trilateral statement expected to be more positive than the previous joint statement in October. Key issues on the table are dispute resolution, a sunset clause, and car manufacturing. The talks are widely expected to stretch on for several more months, possibly into 2019. [Bloomberg]
- FCC Chairman Pai opposed Trump Whitehouse’s national 5G network plan. The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, the nation’s telecommunications regulatory body, has come out in opposition to a plan proposed by a National Security Council official to build a 5G wireless network to better compete with China. The Chairman, along with one Republican and one Democratic commissioner, came out against the proposal in separate statements. The Chairman emphasized the role of the free market in wireless network progress thus far, and commissioner O’Rielly stated his opposition “I’ve seen lead balloons tried in D.C. before but this is like a balloon made out of a Ford Pinto.” [Axios]
Economic Indicators & News
- December consumer spending higher, with savings at decade low. Consumer spending rose 0.4% in the month of December, after a strong 0.8% increase in the month of November. That consumer spending is largely financed by record low savings, which is at its lowest levels since December 2007 at the outset of the Great Recession. Savings rates fell to 2.4%, the lowest levels since 2005, while personal income rose about 0.4%. [Reuters]