Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Canada's Freeland to hold NAFTA talks on Tuesday as time runs short

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . . US, Canada still have work to do on NAFTA | TheHill
Scott Davis | 14 September, 2018, 13:24

Officials have identified the main sticking points as Canada's dairy quota regime, Ottawa's desire to keep a trade dispute-resolution mechanism and Canadian media laws that favor domestically produced content.

US officials have said time is running out to agree on a text that can be signed by American, Canadian and Mexican leaders by November 30, before the current Mexican government leaves office.

He and other American politicians have long demanded Canada's system of domestic dairy protections either be abolished or heavily modified to give U.S. exports a bigger share.

Solemn cross-border remembrances slammed headlong into the present-day fight over free trade Tuesday as Canada and the US resumed their protracted effort to rescue NAFTA on the 17th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks in Washington and New York City.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said just last week that the process was needed, because Trump "doesn't always follow the rules."

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign affairs minister who is leading her country's negotiating effort, last month touted the progress so far on auto talks.

"For this government to go out and be seen as giving too much to the American side on agriculture, and dairy in particular, would be ... nearly suicidal politically", Charest said.

Trump sounded a more upbeat note earlier, and said he expected to know whether a deal could be struck to include Canada in the next few days.




Canada's dairy farmers believe they've already given enough to foreign producers in previous trade deals and aren't interested in ceding any more ground. The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on overhauling NAFTA at the beginning of last week, turning up the pressure on Canada to agree to new terms.

How negotiations play out will determine the fate of numerous jobs and hundreds of billions in trade between the two nations.

The back and fourth of the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations continued Tuesday on both sides of the border.

"There is not going to be a deal - period - unless there is a compromise in that area because that is what he campaigned on and it's stuck to him and he's stuck with it", Mulroney said.

"We have all been dealing in good faith", he said.

"We've taken those hits for team Canada, and we are determined that there be no further concessions on dairy", said David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada. "They're really hammering this out", said Orr, who is now senior worldwide trade adviser for a Washington law firm. "He's railed against this thing (NAFTA) and they've been at the negotiating table for now over a year. They did some very hard work and the discussions over the weekend were, as they were at the beginning of this process, constructive and productive, and we decided it would be a good idea to have a meeting today".

Yet, he stressed that "if we sign the deal it'll be. for Canada and Canadians".

"There is no question Canada and Mexico are going to get a haircut and the best you can hope for when you get a haircut is that it looks stylish", Mr. Ujczo said.

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