Canada and Mexico would like nothing more than to sideline the United States and create a bilateral trade agreement that excludes their suddenly unreliable neighbor.
But they can’t create a deal worth the trouble without access to America’s markets, senior officials of both governments concede. And that realization gives a significant advantage to President Donald Trump as he threatens to reopen the bedrock NAFTA partnership.
“Even though it would be easy to reach a bilateral agreement because we have the NAFTA framework, it doesn’t amount to much without the United States,” said Jorge Guajardo, Mexico’s former ambassador to China who is familiar with the negotiations. “That is what made NAFTA powerful.”
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