Chrystia Freeland, Canada's FM, calls NAFTA talks 'constructive' but still no deal

Posted September 07, 2018

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

Trudeau made clear, however, he would insist on keeping the so-called Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism that Washington wants to scrap. I want to make sure we continue to get trade.

The two sides broke off talks Friday as Trump formally notified Congress of the deal with Mexico, saying Canada might join later.

USA officials did not comment after Wednesday's meeting, which came after Trump said he was willing to dump Canada from the US$1.2 trillion three-country trade pact after he reached agreement with Mexico last week. "As the Trump administration has been dealing with trade around the country, what I've been doing is, as it impacts Florida businesses, I've been talking to Bob Lighthizer, who's the federal trade representative, and letting him know the importance of free trade and how it's impacting Florida businesses", Scott said.

He said on Twitter that "there is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal". "And we know we have a president who doesn't always follow the rules as they're laid out", Trudeau said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is to resume talks with US trade czar Robert Lighthizer, whom she has praised as a "good faith" negotiator in the face of President Donald Trump's Twitter barrages.

The goal of this week's talks is to reach a deal by December 1 so Congress can give its approval to a revised three-country NAFTA before Mexico's new president takes office.

Canada's top trade negotiator stepped out of high-stakes talks with the Trump administration Wednesday to say that the dialogue was "constructive" but had yet to hit upon a deal.

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Carla Hills, who was the USA trade representative under President George H.W. Bush who negotiated the NAFTA accord, has been one of the most ardent advocates of preserving the breadth of a deal that from the beginning was about more than regulating imports and exports. A lot is riding on a new NAFTA deal.

The Canadian dollar strengthened against the greenback on Thursday, recovering from a almost seven-week low earlier in the day after a senior Bank of Canada official said the central bank had discussed the pace at which it could raise interest rates.

With a pledge to resume talks next week, Freeland spoke of progress, of optimism and of her determination to get a deal that's good for Canadians - a remarkable show of restraint on a day that began with another blast of now-familiar Trump bombast that landed like an anvil on the negotiating table.

"It's weird that Canada would be re-stating this so publicly as a red line at this point ... because it's not something that has figured prominently in American discussions over trade priorities", said Mark Warner, a Canada-U.S. trade expert based in Toronto.

"It just makes the U.S. look like a less reliable partner", he says.

Canada was frozen out of the bilateral talks between the two other NAFTA partners. Comments on Kentucky Medicaid changes largely negative Cohen draws fresh scrutiny from key Senate panel MORE (D-Ore.), the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade, said this week that the president can't unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA, a move Trump has repeatedly threatened to make.

"You have to be careful about what he says and what he's actually doing".

"I think we've come a long way toward them treating us fairly", Trump said.

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