Trudeau Insists on Dispute Resolution Mechanism for NAFTA Deal
Sep 08, 2018, 02:12
Before heading in to meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerMcConnell urges GOP senators to call Trump about tariffs Companies brace for trade warMORE, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that the U.S. and Canada had worked over the weekend and she was looking forward to constructive talks.
A block from the White House, where a furious Trump was Tweeting fire at the disloyalty from his inner circle, Freeland and Lighthizer pushed on with talks that cut to the core of North American prosperity.
But the talks will be dogged by President Donald Trump's repeated threats to leave Canada on the sidelines and proceed with Mexico, which reached a deal with Washington last week and could sign NAFTA 2.0 as soon as November 30.
"If we don't make a fair deal for the USA after decades of abuse, Canada will be out", Trump said via Twitter, threatening to terminate the 24-year-old trilateral trade deal.
The overall goal is to reach a deal by December 1 so Congress can give its approval to a revised NAFTA before Mexico's new president takes office.
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Trump continued his tough talk throughout the weekend, and was unlikely to be in a more cooperative mood after trade data released Wednesday showed the U.S. deficit with Canada expanded, and deficits with China and the European Union hit new records.
On the eve of the resumption of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faces a dilemma.
"It was important to discuss a couple of issues face-to-face", she said, without elaborating.
In a statement Wednesday, the Bank of Canada said more hikes should be expected thanks to encouraging numbers for business investment, exports and evidence that households are adjusting to pricier borrowing costs.
The U.S., however, is in a part stronger position to stick to its economic nationalist approach in the negotiations over a NAFTA replacement.
Freeland, when asked about the comments, said she didn't want to negotiate in public, but added: "I agree with the prime minister in public all of the time, and in private 99.99 per cent of the time". "Trump may have been aiming to get NAFTA over the line ahead of the midterms but I think he's in this one for the long-run and the Chinese don't appear to be in any mood to back down, even if they aren't able to respond with the same volume of tariffs".
Both officials said there had been progress in the negotiations last week, which frequently went late into the night.
Wednesday was the first day that talks between the two countries resumed after four intensive days of talks last week ended on Friday without a deal after the mood soured.
The Trump administration is under pressure from Republican lawmakers and business leaders to preserve the more than $1 trillion in annual trade between the three countries under NAFTA. But Canada insisted that it would only sign a new agreement that is good for the country. "The deal is a much more fair deal between the United States and Mexico".
Mexico, likewise, endured Trump's repeated taunts about paying for a wall along the USA border while managing to secure some important concessions in its head-to-head bargaining with the Americans, he said. However, like the sunset clause, a NAFTA dispute resolution process is only meaningful to Mexico (or Canada) if the U.S.is a good-faith participant.
In the US, businesses, farmers, unions and Congress insistent that there must be a three-nation agreement.
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