Saturday, 22 September, 2018

US, Canada still have work to do on NAFTA

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . . US, Canada still have work to do on NAFTA | TheHill
Lloyd Bates | 14 September, 2018, 20:42

Even Prime Minister Trudeau suggested in an interview a week ago Canada was willing to bend on dairy.

Welles Orr, who was assistant US trade representative for congressional affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration, said the prospects appear good for a deal with Canada in coming weeks, although a new NAFTA or its replacement would likely not get through Congress until next year at the soonest. What trade scholars like me know is that Trump does not have the upper hand in these negotiations.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives at the Office Of The United States Trade Representative, Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018, in Washington.

She has declined to discuss specifics about the talks, noting she and Lighthizer have agreed to refrain from negotiating in public.

The in-person, high-level negotiations got back underway as events marking the 17th anniversary of the 2001 attacks took place around the USA, including at the Pentagon with Vice President Mike Pence, not far from where the trade meetings are taking place. In April 2017, Trump almost withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered by the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada had been cut off by the Class 7 pricing scheme.

"They (Canada) want to be part of the deal, and we gave until Friday and I think we're probably on track".

"The conversations over the weekend continued to be constructive and productive", she said.

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What Trump hesitates to acknowledge is the interdependence between the US and Canadian economies.

"Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we're having - and also put into a little bit of historical perspective the importance and the significance of the relationship between Canada and the United States", she said of the anniversary.

"We will be travelling to Washington ... to continue the NAFTA negotiations", Ms. Freeland told reporters at the Women in the World event in Toronto, without commenting further on the state of the trade talks. He said Canada and the United States spent a lot of time last week reconciling what the US and Mexico had already agreed upon.

However, no specifics on the progress made towards reaching an agreement have been announced.

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to push ahead with a bilateral deal with Mexico, effectively killing the nearly 25-year-old three-country NAFTA pact, which covers $1.2 trillion in trade. But a deal without Canada has virtually no chance of being passed, Mulroney said.

It's unclear how long the talks are scheduled for this week. But Larry Kudlow, the director of U.S. President Donald Trump's National Economic Council, suggested Friday that Canada isn't offering enough. "He doesn't need any more problems, particularly when he's going into an election campaign with a vote in November that could be extremely challenging for him".

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