Canada sticks to plan to stay at NAFTA talks despite Trump attack

Canada sticks to plan to stay at NAFTA talks despite Trump attack

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tried a couple of times to speak with President Donald Trump on the sidelines of United Nations meetings, a US official says, but Trump avoided the Canadian leader because of a standoff in trade talks.

The president's personalized attack uncorked debate Thursday about whether Freeland brought Trump's wrath upon herself during 13 months of delicate NAFTA talks - with her Washington speech in June and other recent appearances in which she criticized the administration's "America First" foreign policy. "Canada has a long way to go", Trump said on Wednesday. "We agreed to that". Trump announced the deal in August and said Canada, while not included in the agreement, could still join "if it is willing".

US lawmakers at the Lighthizer meeting cited him as saying the earliest they would be able to consider a deal with Mexico, even a bilateral agreement, would probably be next February or March.

The current state of Canada's relationship with the United State due to the current NAFTA debate has been a rocky one, to say the least.

Laura Dawson, director of the Canada Institute at the Wilson Center in Washington, said major work has been completed on most of the chapters since Canada and the US resumed talks. Would it be limits to US takeover of Canadian companies?

If Canada misses this weekend's deadline, it could later be added to the U.S.

Canadian officials say there is no rush to get an agreement since any move to recast NAFTA as a bilateral deal would have to be approved by the U.S. Congress.

The Trump administration is expected to release the text of its trade agreement with Mexico as early as Friday, launching a contentious congressional approval process as it tries to coax Canada into a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement.

FILE PHOTO: Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer smile during a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018.

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The publishing of the text starts a months-long process for Congressional approval that will require a lengthy analysis study by the independent USA worldwide Trade Commission and a series of notification periods before an up-or-down vote can occur. "The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be", Trudeau told reporters on the way into a regular weekly cabinet meeting in Ottawa.

Canada, which sends 75 percent of its goods exports to the United States, is vulnerable.

"Canada is exceptionally important".

The United States has imposed a September 30 deadline for Canada to agree to the text of a new NAFTA. "I think it would be malpractice, both for economic and political reasons, not to have a major agreement with Canada", said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the tax and trade Senate Finance Committee. Or perhaps correction of the imbalance of trade that already favours the United States?

Details also are expected on a side-letter that preserves the Trump administration's ability to impose global national security tariffs on imports of autos and auto parts, granting Mexico a quota for tariff-free exports to the United States that allows some expansion of production.

Auto industry executives say it is unlikely those targets can be met if Canada is not part of the deal, given supply chains that crisscross NAFTA borders multiple times.

More light is likely to be shed on the enforcement of new labor standards and trade dispute settlement arrangements.

He covers US politics and current affairs. Mexican-made products were hit by those actions, which were aimed at protecting US producers from import surges. The U.S. Congress is pushing Canada to join the U.S. -Mexico pact by a self-imposed deadline of Sunday to allow Mexico's current government to sign the deal before it leaves office on December 1.

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