More hints of U.S. trade détente with Canada, EU

Jeannie Matthews
September 14, 2018

Canada and the United States will make a final push to iron out differences on a pact to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Friday, with Mexico on standby to return to talks aimed at ending a year of hard-fought negotiations.

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.

Freeland and Lighthizer left the bargaining table Friday without a deal following two weeks of negotiations.

The talks are focused on US demands to scrap the so-called Chapter-19 dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA, overturn some of Canada's current "carve-out" of cultural industries from free-trade rules and loosen protections under the dairy sector's supply management system.

"In some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country".

Republican Tom Reed, a member of the House ways and means committee, said Trump doesn't necessarily want the Liberals to get rid of the system, but simply to remove what the Americans see as trade barriers.

"Our farmers don't have access to the Canadian markets the way that they have access to us", Perdue said in an interview that aired Sunday on C-SPAN.

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.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said just last week that the process was needed, because Trump "doesn't always follow the rules."

"It seems even if we give a lot, the USA keeps asking for more", said Mr. Kronby, an worldwide trade lawyer with Borden Ladner Gervais. Both sides did a lot of thinking over the weekend, so this was a very productive meeting. "Having said all of that, nothing is done until everything is done", Freeland told reporters.

It is unclear how long the current round of talks will go on in Washington.

Dairy farmers are considered a potent political force in Quebec and Ontario, the two provinces where the industry is strongest, and two key battlegrounds in next year's federal election. He said Canada and the United States spent a lot of time last week reconciling what the US and Mexico had already agreed upon.

"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". Otherwise, he says, the Americans could invade the canadian market.

"We have been very clear on that, that there can not be more access given", Wiens said in a telephone interview.

In 2016, after yielding greater market access under the European Union deal, Trudeau's government paid dairy farms and processors hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate and is expected to pay out again for the Pacific deal.

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