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SHAFTA, MAGATA or LAFTA? Internet happy to oblige Trump’s call to rename trade deal

Is Canada about to sign on to SHAFTA, MAGA+2 or, maybe, LAFTA?

Donald Trump said his updated version of the North American
Free Trade Agreement would have to get a new name, the old one
having been fatally tarnished by a “bad connotation.”

Well, the internet has responded, though perhaps not in the
spirit the U.S. president intended.

From the mostly snide suggestions offered up by followers of a
Washington-based professor of Canadian studies, to a
radio-station poll and various independent offerings, Trump now
has a variety of choices for replacing the NAFTA name, or at
least its acronym.

The Twitter-posted proposal of Richard Miles, senior fellow at
the Center for Strategic and International Studies, typifies
the general tone. CBIATA, he suggests — Can’t Believe It’s a
Trade Agreement.

Trump may have been serious in wanting to signal a new era in
North American trade by banishing the NAFTA name. The monikers
floated online indicate a more mocking take on his renaming
plan.

Chris Sands, head of the Center for Canadian Studies at Johns
Hopkins University, issued the Twitter challenge to which Miles
responded.

He said he actually was hoping to get some suggestions Trump
might want to adopt, but also recognizes it was a chance to
vent about a process that has put many people “on edge.”

“I think we’re all feeling exhausted … by the high pressure of
this, by the negativity in a lot of ways,” Sands said. “Trump
has engineered this kind (of) psychological pressure on
everybody by saying, ‘Well, I could withdraw from NAFTA or I
could leave Canada out.’ It’s had an effect.”

Trump, meanwhile, may already have come up with his replacement
acronym. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that he told
a private meeting of supporters he wants to call it USMC – for
United States Mexico Canada, though the initials are currently
better known for the United States Marine Corps.

Mike Fejes, a Canadian military officer and Carleton University
doctoral student, responded to Sands’ call with LAFTA …
Laurentian Free Trade Agreement. “I meant Laurentia as the
large continental mass that forms the ancient geological core
of North America — kind of a turn the clock back concept that
Trump would love,” he explained in another Tweet.

U.S.
President Donald Trump (maybe) mulls over some suggested new
names for NAFTA at the White House.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty
Images

On an even lighter note was Laval professor Jonathan Paquin’s
TTD — for Trumpomania Trade Deal.

Trade lawyer Dan Ujczo, a close follower of the NAFTA
renegotiation, proposed the upbeat WINA — Workers Initiative
for North America — or NEWA — New Economic and Workers
Agreement.

The iHeart Radio network conducted an online poll between three
new names it suggested. The winner referenced the fact the U.S.
has already struck a new trade deal with Mexico, and played off
a favourite Trump slogan: Make America Gringo Again (MAGA).

On a similar note was the Twitter-posted suggestion MAGA+2.

Democratic activist Carol York made clear on Twitter her view
of Trump’s treatment of U.S. trading partners and Americans,
suggesting his new trade-deal name should be called SHAFTA.

• Email: tblackwell@postmedia.com
| Twitter: tomblackwellNP

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