May 24, 2018

NAFTA negotiations on hold citing U.S. auto demands

Assembly line at the Ford Kentucky Truck Plant. Photo: Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Negotiations with Mexico on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have hit a wall as the U.S. and it's southern neighbor continue to accuse "one another of intransigence and inconsistency" following disagreements on car manufacturing rules, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The standstill follows President Trump's Wednesday remark as he said Canada and Mexico have been "very difficult to deal with." The U.S. and Mexico are at odds over the U.S.' proposed "skinny NAFTA deal" with those familiar with Mexico's position arguing that the U.S. is attempting to "bully" the country in to entering the deal. One person familiar with Mexico's reasoning told WSJ, "it doesn’t accomplish the essential task of solving our issues, the [NAFTA] issues."

By the numbers, per WSJ: "The current deal mandates that 62.5% of a car to come from a vehicle’s content to originate in the region. The U.S. proposed raising that to 75%, along with several other content rules related to aluminum and steel used to make vehicles, core parts like engines and transmissions and primary and secondary components."

  • "The U.S. also demanded that 40% of light vehicle content and 45% of pickup truck content be produced in high-wage zones with an average minimum wage of at least $16 per hour."

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Situational awareness

Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Mike Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 NDAs
  2. Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges
  3. Bloomberg campaign says Tennessee vandalism "echoes language" from Bernie supporters
  4. Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers
  5. Nearly half of Republicans support pardoning Roger Stone

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.

Bloomberg offers to release women from 3 nondisclosure agreements

Mike Bloomberg. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Mike Bloomberg said Friday his company will release three women identified to have signed nondisclosure agreements so they can publicly discuss their allegations against him if they wish.

Why it matters, via Axios' Margaret Talev: Bloomberg’s shift in policy toward NDAs comes as he tries to stanch his loss of female support after the Las Vegas debate. It is an effort to separate the total number of harassment and culture complaints at the large company from those directed at him personally. That could reframe the criticism against him, but also protect the company from legal fallout if all past NDAs were placed in jeopardy.