Canada, US, Mexico agree to continue NAFTA talks

Sergio Conner
June 17, 2018

Trade in farm products between the countries amounts to C$47 billion (£26.8 billion) annually, split roughly evenly, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The businessman and owner of a label-making business with a branch in the US, leaned on his background in sales to tell reporters that he will help federal efforts by travelling to the U.S.to discuss trade with USA politicians.

President Trump responded with a one-two punch of angry tweets that indicated it was hypocritical of PM Trudeau to posture on the trade tariff issue publicly while presenting a friendly face during their meeting just hours previous, and further arguing that Canada's exorbitant dairy tariffs that have been in place for almost half of a century are unfair to American farmers.

With a full 71 percent of Americans in agreement when polled on the question of whether this trade tiff has damaged relations between the two great allies, it is unclear whether President Trump will provide a more measured response in future dealing with the Canadian Prime Minister, though the polling data does suggest it would be a wise and expedient political move. Under CETA, Canada only recognized slightly more than 40 Italian labels out of a total of 292 existing in Italy.

Italy's association of agricultural companies, Coldiretti, has also warned against CETA.

Its supporters say it would increase trade between the partners by 20 percent and boost the European Union economy by 12 billion euros ($14 billion) a year and Canada's by C$12 billion ($9 billion). Coldiretti also mentioned risks posed by the annulment of duties on Canadian wheat, a country where the herbicide glyphosate can be used.

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The government program that forms the basis of the League-5-Star coalition mentioned CETA, saying the executive would oppose "the aspects (of the treaty) that imply an excessive weakening of the protection of citizens' rights".

Sixty-two percent of Canadians "say he has handled his spat with Trump well", while 59 percent support "his government's countervailing tariffs in retaliation to Trump's on steel and aluminum", the Angus Reid Institute said.

Ford, whose Conservatives won a majority last week, will be continuing work begun by outgoing Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who spent months meeting with American governors stressing the importance of reaching a new NAFTA agreement.

Asked about Italy's position on CETA, the European Commission said it was working closely with EU members to ensure that the EU trade accords were mutually beneficial.

The U.S. government imposed tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel, 10 percent on aluminum earlier this month from Europe, Mexico and Canada, sending the Dow Jones industrial average tumbling almost 252 points, or 1 percent. That deadline has been extended several times as Canada and Mexico struggle to accommodate far-reaching USA demands for change.

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