U.S., Canadian trade negotiators set for second day of…

Mae Love
September 14, 2018

Mulroney said Justin Trudeau phoned him last weekend to discuss the NAFTA situation and the two spoke for an hour.

"At the end of the day, we're neighbors - and at the end of the day, neighbors help each other when they need help", she said.

The director of public Affairs of Teamsters Canada, Christopher Monette, who attended behind-the-scenes to the most recent negotiations in Washington, believes that the administration, Trump would not touch the system of supply management, particularly as it relates to the dairy industry.

The two sides must submit an agreed-upon text to the U.S. Congress by October 1 in order to join the agreement the U.S. with Mexico last month.

"To me, a lot of that is consistent with my suspicion that the US doesn't really want to get a deal [or] at least the [Trump] administration doesn't", he said, citing the leaked off-the-record comments Mr. Trump gave Bloomberg in late August when he said he was refusing to compromise with Canada and that any deal with Canada would be "totally on our terms".

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

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.

"So if we don't find some way to accommodate some of that, then we're not going to have a deal".

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Trump has notified Congress he intends to sign the trade deal reached last week with Mexico by the end of November, and officials said the text would be published by around October 1.

One of the sticking points is access to the Canadian market for USA dairy farmers.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer takes part in a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018.

Freeland will spend Tuesday in the USA capital before she heads to Saskatoon to attend Liberal caucus meetings that begin later in the day and run through Thursday. "I think everybody is working towards a deal", said Flavio Volpe, president of Canada's Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association. "And if we don't sign the deal, it's because no deal is actually better than a bad deal for Canada".

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of NAFTA entirely and the future of the trade agreement is still unclear as negotiations continue in Washington.

What should Canada do at the NAFTA negotiating table?

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.

"If (Trump) goes to Congress with a bilateral arrangement with Mexico, he's got problems - real problems", Mulroney said.

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