Worries about fate of NAFTA hit Detroit's Canadian neighbors

Worries about fate of NAFTA hit Detroit's Canadian neighbors

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has returned to Washington D.C.to resume heated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland sounded sanguine on Wednesday as she emerged from negotiations with top USA trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer, although she cautioned that no trade deal was done until the last issue was nailed down.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking at the Women in the World summit, was circumspect about the talks, saying only that he remains hopeful.

Trudeau and his ministers will hold a caucus retreat in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to plot their strategy.

Canada and the United States are attempting to put the final touch to a text that could be submitted to Congress at the end of the month and allow Canada to join the agreement signed by the administration Trump with Mexico.

But even if Canada does give in to U.S. President Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the country's tariffs on dairy imports and its supply management system, some economists south of the border say it will not be enough to seal a new trade deal.

Under that system, the USA exports about $500 million of dairy products duty free to Canada - three times what it imports from here - but faces tariffs of up to 300 per cent for anything more.

A Canadian source with knowledge of the NAFTA discussions said an agreement is within reach - but they stressed that getting there will require flexibility from all sides.

"Forget what you read about NAFTA negotiations and Twitter wars, that's not who we are", Craft told the gathered crowd as she thanked Canada - and Gander - for playing host in 2001 to countless stranded American air passengers.

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Speaking on C-SPAN, Perdue said USA farmers don't have the same access to Canada that Canada has to the US, specifically referring the Class 7 dairy products in Canada.

The trade ministers are set to meet again at the end of the month. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1.

Mr. Ujczo said he doesn't believe Mr. Trump feels strongly about Chapter 19.

"I think this is a complicated time for employees".

He added that the Office of the United States Trade Representative wants to wrap up talks with Canada quickly. "We continue to work hard and we are positively optimistic that we can get to a win-win-win for all three countries".

It is unclear how long the current round of talks will go on in Washington. "That's not who we are", Craft said in prepared remarks.

President Trump has voiced his willingness to create a separate deal than the one made with Mexico. "He's railed against this thing (NAFTA) and they've been at the negotiating table for now over a year".

"Without Chapter 19, NAFTA is utterly useless as it would subject Canada and Mexico to the vagaries of the USA political system and its courts when determining trade policy actions", said Derek Holt, vice-president at Scotiabank Economics, in a note recently.

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