NAFTA talks run up against deadline; US tariffs remain tough issue

30 September, 2018, 21:06 | Author: Carlos George
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On Wednesday, Trump told reporters he rejected a request for a meeting with Trudeau to discuss negotiations to update the North America Free Trade Agreement because he was unhappy with Canada's approach to the ongoing trade talks.

Mr. Trump is using potential tariffs on all auto and auto parts imported into the U.S.as a negotiating hammer, not only with Canada but also with the E.U., Japan and other countries, Height Capital analyst Clayton Allen wrote in a note.

Trump is under increasing pressure from U.S. business groups and some members of the U.S. Congress, who say excluding Canada from NAFTA would play havoc with the three member nations' increasingly integrated economies. "But a good, fair deal is still very possible".

The United States would be made this Friday a counter-proposal in Canada, according to the president-elect of mexico, "which means that the negotiation is open". Sources with direct knowledge of the talks told CBC News that David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the US, had flown to Ottawa to be part of the concentrated Canadian effort.

The U.S, Mexico and Canada have been negotiating for 13 months to modernize the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement, which dates to 1994.

Kelly Knight Craft, US ambassador to Canada, downplayed Trump's criticisms of Freeland at a reception in Ottawa on Wednesday.

One solution might be to imitate the provisions of the bilateral Mexico-U.S. deal on NAFTA.

Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that he did not want to "turn your back on Canada", but that for him the negotiation with the United States was reached, and that it would now take a "wait and wish for a compromise between the United States and Canada". Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said late Friday that the USA and Canada were making a renewed push.

He has not ruled out the possibility of signing bilateral agreements with the United States and Canada, in the absence of a compromise for a trilateral agreement.

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Chinese officials consequently canceled upcoming trade talks between the two countries, as reported by The Wall Street Journal . The administration official said Chinese election interference goes beyond targeting voters in farm states hit by tariffs.

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Ford also said that she wrongly identified Patrick Smyth as a bystander to the alleged misconduct in text messages to the Post . As a representative for the Judiciary Committee, part of her task will be interrogating Ford to find holes in her accusations.

Freeland's cabinet colleagues came to her defence Thursday as they arrived for their meeting on Parliament Hill.

But at the end of the day, this president is not going to take a deal that's not good for this country.

Mexican Senator Ricardo Monreal said on Twitter the text would be released simultaneously in Mexico and the United States.

Trade experts took the change in Freeland's itinerary as a positive sign: "It is more likely than not that we will have a deal by the deadline", said Dan Ujczo, an OH trade lawyer and partner with the USA firm Dickinson Wright. Even though Canada and the US are at loggerheads, negotiations may continue.

The president repeated a threat to impose auto tariffs if a deal can't be reached.

The most contentious issues continue to be preserving Canada's cultural exemption and Canada's insistence on preserving Chapter 19, which allows for independent panels to resolve disputes involving companies and governments. Mexican-made products were hit by those actions, which were aimed at protecting USA producers from import surges.

The Trudeau government has branded the tariffs illegal and insulting given the close security relationship between Canada and the USA, including their shared membership in Norad, which defends North American airspace.

A Trump administration official and congressional aides said the U.S. -Mexico text was due for release on Friday, but a USTR spokesman declined to comment on timing.

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