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For Canada and Mexico, throwing China under bus was no-brainer

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The China card was something Mexico and Canada were ready to play against the Americans when Donald Trump first came to power under a unilateralist banner of “America First”.

Who knew how far this volatile and inconsistent leader in Washington was willing to go after he denounced the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) – which formed the basis of trade between the three countries for 24 years – as the worst trade deal in the history of his country?

But when the three sides have finally agreed on a replacement trade pact – the so-called United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) – should anyone be surprised that the latter two countries were ready to blow off the Chinese at the insistence of the US?

Article 32.10 in the preliminary agreement – which still has to be ratified by all three governments and so is by no means a done deal – gives Washington virtual veto power over any bilateral deal Canada or Mexico may wish to reach with “a non-market country”, for which read China. Any such deal could mean the end of the USMCA for that country.

This is perhaps the worst feature of the USMCA for Beijing, as it may become a........

© South China Morning Post