Anniversary of 9-11 gives perspective to NAFTA impasse, Freeland says

Dwayne Harmon
September 14, 2018

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.

Freeland is expected to answer questions from reporters later this afternoon.

Freeland said the memorials should help to add some context to the ongoing negotiations on free trade that were started at Trump's behest.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned, however, that potential U.S. auto tariffs could be "devastating" for industry in both countries.

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.

If consumers in Canada and other countries are buying fewer American cars as a result of these trade disputes, that could lead to layoffs.

To the south, Trump's agriculture secretary suggested deeper concessions would be coming from the Canadians over Canada's system of managing supply and prices in the dairy sector.

"To me, a lot of that is consistent with my suspicion that the USA 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".

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He's optimistic that a revised trade deal will come, but the uncertainty is one reason he believes no new products have been announced for the CAMI plant.

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

The officials have held two weeks of talks but ended Friday afternoon without reaching an agreement that would keep Canada in the three-nation pact. That second level is what the public is witnessing. "I can't read the tea leaves, but. coming back and saying, "Sorry, we couldn't get an agreement" is just too hard politically to manage" on both sides, Sosnow said.

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.

"I think there's good momentum and I think there's good honest brokering. That's not who we are", Craft said in prepared remarks. "They've got their full teams engaged on this, and I feel positive they can get to an agreement".

"It's time to update this deal after 25 years".

Interest groups on both sides of the border will ensure that Canada is in the deal - and legally, it would be cumbersome to do a deal that excludes the Canadians. In April 2017, Trump almost withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered by the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada had been cut off by the Class 7 pricing scheme.

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