Monday, 22 October, 2018

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

NAFTA Talks To Resume This Week Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .
Ginger Lawrence | 14 September, 2018, 03:22

It's unclear how long the talks are scheduled for this week.

After her stop in Washington, Freeland is due to attend this week's meetings of the governing Liberal Party of Canada in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The renegotiation of the 24-year-old NAFTA, which also includes Mexico and is integral to the continent's economy, has dragged on for 13 months.

Canada must end its low-price milk proteins policy to reach a US-Canadian deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. The United States is seeking to water down or eliminate Chapter 19, which provides for binding arbitration decisions to settle disputes.

A couple of weeks ago the White House announced a new NAFTA deal between the US and Mexico, which they sent up to Congress for possible consideration.

Wiens declined to say what action the organization would take if an updated NAFTA deal gave the USA a greater chunk of the Canadian market, but did not rule out campaigning against ratification of the agreement, or the Liberal government.

US officials say time is running out to agree on a text on which the current Congress can vote.

Meanwhile, despite the "several" issues still in dispute, there is strong will on the USA side, especially, to wrap up the talks by Friday, trade lawyer Dan Ujczo said Monday. "It appears as if there is not a whole lot of momentum right now".

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"And one of the things that I think we are accomplishing in this agreement is a better deal for Canadian and USA workers in the auto sector".

US farmers complain Canada is flooding export markets. "There is progress made". They are aiming to complete a deal by the end of the month so that Mexico, Canada and the USA can sign an agreement by the end of November.

The latest talks between Canada and the United States have been intense but constructive, marking a departure from acrimonious tit-for-tat that surrounded past rounds.

A member of an influential Congressional panel - and a Donald Trump supporter - said in a Canadian interview that providing American dairy farmers with more access to the Canadian market may appease the president. However, he said, Mr. Lighthizer is far more eager to dismantle this dispute-settlement provision.

"I think this is a complicated time for employees. But right now the USA position is to squeeze every last drop in concessions".

Canada, he added, has already opened up its dairy market via concessions included in the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) agreement with the Asia Pacific and the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) with the European Union.

With so much uncertainty, Freeland and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have regularly been dogged by questions about the fate of NAFTA. "We continue to work hard and we are positively optimistic that we can get to a win-win-win for all three countries".