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Watch List: Jan. 11, 2018

NAFTA’s future, instability in Tunisia, uptick in violence in Mexico

|January 11, 2018

The items listed below represent potential emerging issues that our analysts are tracking. These can be long term or short term, but will be updated daily. If an item on our Watch List becomes critical, we will email you a full analysis explaining its significance.

Each Saturday, we will follow up our daily Watch List for each week with our conclusions on these issues.

  • Canada, U.S.: The Canadian government is “increasingly convinced” that U.S. President Donald Trump will announce that the U.S. is pulling out of NAFTA, according to a Reuters report. Mexico’s economic minister said Jan. 10 not to underestimate Trump’s threats on NAFTA. Speculative media reports suggest that Trump may use a withdrawal letter as negotiating leverage. We know that Trump has significant powers to announce a withdrawal. We also know much of the law on this is unclear at best. Have we gained any clarity on presidential powers? How is the U.S. Congress reacting to these reports, particularly the delegations from states such as Texas and California that would be greatly affected? What are the mechanics if Trump does write a withdrawal letter? What would the Canadian and Mexican reactions be?
  • Tunisia: Unrest in Tunisia has continued for a third straight night. The army has been deployed to several cities, and casualties have been reported. This is where the Arab Spring began. Most likely this is not going to advance into much, but let’s keep an eye on it. Watch the main unions and political parties – that’s where the power resides.
  • China: Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a speech Jan. 10 marking the transfer of command over the armed police to the Central Military Commission. We’ve been following this story, but let’s step back and consider why Xi felt the need to do this. Is it just power consolidation, or is there some kind of threat?
  • Mexico: Multiple reports suggest that violence in Mexico is on the rise. Let’s plot the violence by state and compare it to violence over previous months and years. Is there a notable uptick, or is it being exaggerated? If the violence is really increasing and doing so in a novel way, we need to understand why.

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