Aug 27, 2018

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: The U.S. will be paying up to $4.7 billion to help farmers dealing with trade war pains, including $3.6 billion is earmarked for soybean farmers.

1 big thing: Trump tries to rebrand NAFTA

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump is claiming a tentative victory on parts of a rebranded NAFTA, with Canada currently on the outside looking in.

  • “They used to call it NAFTA... We’re going to call it the United States Mexico Trade Agreement."

The big picture:

  • "[Trump's] comments threw the trade agreement’s future into doubt, prompting skepticism among lawmakers who support [NAFTA] and concern among businesses whose supply chains depend on a deal encompassing Canada, Mexico and the United States." [N.Y. Times]
  • "In dangling the prospect of a new, bilateral trade agreement, Mr. Trump appeared eager to pressure Canada to come to a quick resolution and accede to many of the United States’ demands." [N.Y. Times]
  • "It wasn’t immediately clear how much power the Trump administration has to remove Canada from any deal, given Mexico and Canada have been unified in saying all three countries needed to remain in the agreement." [WSJ]

Details: The understanding with Mexico would require 75% of an automobile's value to be manufactured in North America, up from NAFTA's current level of 62.5%. It would also require 40% to 45% of the car to be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour.

What's next: Negotiations with Canada are expected to begin this afternoon, Axios' Zach Basu reports. Both the U.S. and Mexico have expressed a desire to have Canada join the agreement, but according to the U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer, the deal is set to be presented to Congress either way.

Behind the scenes: Inside Lighthizer's thinking on NAFTA

Breaking: Trump honors McCain

The White House flag was lowered this afternoon, a reversal to honor Sen. John McCain.

Screenshot: Mark Knoller/Twitter

Statement from President Trump:

"Despite our differences on policy and politics, I respect Senator John McCain’s service to our country and, in his honor, have signed a proclamation to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff until the day of his interment.
I have asked Vice President Mike Pence to offer an address at the ceremony honoring Senator McCain at the United States Capitol this Friday.
At the request of the McCain family, I have also authorized military transportation of Senator McCain’s remains from Arizona to Washington, D.C., military pallbearers and band support, and a horse and caisson transport during the service at the United States Naval Academy.
Finally, I have asked General John Kelly, Secretary James Mattis, and Ambassador John Bolton to represent my Administration at his services."

Go deeper: Read John McCain's farewell letter to America... "We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history."

2. What you missed
  1. French President Emmanuel Macron announced an "exhaustive review" of defense cooperation in the European Union, claiming the EU can no longer rely on the U.S. for its security.
  2. The official overseeing the $1.5 trillion student loan market has stepped down, saying the White House has made it difficult to protect the millions of students who have taken out loans for their higher education. Go deeper.
  3. Rachel Whetstone, Facebook's head of PR, is leaving after a year. She's headed to fill the vacant top PR spot at Netflix.
  4. Toyota is reportedly investing $500 million in Uber as part of a deal to jointly develop self-driving car technology, according to the Wall Street Journal. Toyota first invested in the ride-hailing company in 2016.
3. 1 fizz thing

"Americans will buy an estimated 821 million gallons of sparkling water this year," up nearly 300% from 2008, the WSJ's Jennifer Maloney reports.

By the numbers: "U.S. retail sales of nonalcoholic sparkling water, seltzer and club soda totaled $2.7 billion in the year ended June 30, surpassing fruit juice sales, which were $2.5 billion in the same period, according to Nielsen."

  • "Coca-Cola Co.last year bought Topo Chico... That was in addition to the carbonated versions of Coke’s two bottled-water brands, Dasani and smartwater."
  • "PepsiCo Inc. this year launched a new flavored seltzer brand called bubly, and last week announced a $3.2 billion deal to buy SodaStream International Ltd. , which makes countertop seltzer machines."

Go deeper: How and Why Your Beverage Options Are Exploding (WSJ)

Mike Allen