Canada's Freeland to hold NAFTA talks on Tuesday as time runs short

Lloyd Doyle
September 12, 2018

Wiens declined to say what action the organization would take if an updated NAFTA deal gave the USA a greater chunk of the Canadian market, but did not rule out campaigning against ratification of the agreement, or the Liberal government. Overall Mulroney thinks Canada is handling the talks well.

"Canadians expect all orders of government to uphold their rights and freedoms as guaranteed by the charter, and respect the rule of law", he said.

They oversaw the last two weeks of talks but the sides were unable to resolve their differences over USA access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada in the original NAFTA and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism. "It's not a door we want to open in a healthy federation".

Mulroney acknowledged U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is on a short leash from the White House when it comes to what he can offer in the talks but that Trump trusts Lighthizer a lot.

Freeland spent three days in Washington last week and said on Friday as she prepared to leave that she and Lighthizer were making very good progress in some areas, although a deal remained out of reach.

Freeland will head back to Canada for government business and to report to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau what transpired during the day's talks and where the negotiations stand.

"Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we're having - and also put into a little bit of historical perspective the importance and the significance of the relationship between Canada and the United States", Freeland said of the anniversary.

The talks are focused on USA 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.

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

On Canadian soil, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft was expressing much the same sentiment. "I tell you, I don't know what's going on out in Ottawa", Ford told guest host Anthony Furey, who normally hosts National Post Radio on SiriusXM Canada.

After a year of effort, Washington and Mexico City announced an agreement in late August and Trump's administration has informed Congress it plans to sign a new treaty by November 30, including Canada if possible.

But Wiens said concessions made in Canada's CP-TPP free-trade deal with Pacific nations and the CETA agreement with Europe have already forced his members to give up an extra five per cent of the market - a $250 million loss.

A couple of weeks ago the White House announced a new NAFTA deal between the USA and Mexico, which they sent up to Congress for possible consideration. "He doesn't need any more problems, particularly when he's going into an election campaign with a vote in November that could be extremely challenging for him".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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