Freeland, Lighthizer meet as NAFTA talks resume with October 1 deadline looming

Adjust Comment Print

Trump almost tore up the Nafta pact a year ago after visiting farmers in Wisconsin, a major United States dairy producer that Washington says has been hurt by Canadian protectionism.

NAFTA's Chapter 19 allows companies who feel wronged by anti-dumping, or countervailing duties, to have their issues settled by independent panels of experts from the countries caught in the dispute.

Freeland insisted that the latest round of talks is being conducted in in "good faith". Nor had it made much of a ripple in public discussions on NAFTA, except during some testimony at a few USA hearings, experts say.

Canada now faces a serious threat of trade and investment diversion over time if Mexican producers have tariff-free access to the US while Canadian producers do not.

While the Trudeau government has rejected Trump administration criticisms of Canada's high tariffs on dairy products, it has not explicitly stated that supply management - now a hot-button issue on Canada's political scene - is non-negotiable.

A bombshell claim of "resistance" to Donald Trump's presidency inside the White House inserted itself Thursday into Canada's painstaking march toward a deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said she is looking over the work that officials from both countries did during a long night of talks to move the needle on negotiations.

Canadian and US officials are meeting on Wednesday in a bid to settle disagreements holding up the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Trudeau started the day by branding Trump a rule breaker to argue in favour of keeping a mechanism to resolve trade disputes, while Trump hours later said Canada had more to lose than the United States if the two countries can't make a deal to preserve the three country NAFTA.

Democratic upset brings new blood, new battles to Congress
She'd argued on the campaign trail that systemic inequalities had worsened in a district that was once represented by John F. Her victory comes on the back of 28-year-old self-professed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's shock win in NY over Rep.

Mexican officials stressed in a joint statement that they are "continuing to promote an agreement to which Canada is a party". But the prime minister noted Canada has shown "a certain amount of flexibility in signing other trade deals". Canada relies on the buy about 75 per cent of its exports.

"There are a number of things we absolutely must see in a renegotiated NAFTA", Trudeau told reporters on Tuesday.

The talks to remake NAFTA resumed after hitting an impasse last week over 's high dairy tariffs and US moves to eliminate a dispute resolution system known as Chapter 19 that potentially favors Ottawa.

The overall goal is to reach a deal by December 1 so Congress can give its approval to a revised NAFTA before Mexico's new president takes office.

Talks with Canada aimed at bringing the top USA trading partner into the tentative deal struck with Mexico broke off Friday without success, but the parties agreed to continue talks this week.

On Saturday, Trump said there is "no political necessity" to keep Canada in NAFTA and he warned Congress not to interfere or he would kill the pact.

After four days of intense negotiations last week, the two teams failed to strike a deal before 's Friday deadline.

"We're going to continue to be constructive and thoughtful and focused on getting to the right deal around the table but we're not going to accept that we should have to sign a bad deal just because the president wants it", Trudeau said Wednesday during an Alberta radio interview, taking a tough stance.

The time is coming when Trudeau and his cabinet will need to be explicit about whether Canada will walk away from a bilateral agreement with the protect domestic dairy farmers.