Freeland to head back to Washington for high-level NAFTA negotiations

  • Freeland to head back to Washington for high-level NAFTA negotiations

Freeland to head back to Washington for high-level NAFTA negotiations

The renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement continued on Tuesday, as Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland sat down with USA trade officials and struck a positive tone, speaking with reporters.

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.

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.

Last week, as the The Globe and Mail reported, Mr. Trump's trade chief, Robert Lighthizer, refused Ottawa's key demand, the preservation of the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution system, in order to extract maximum concessions from Canada on its protected dairy market and pharmaceutical patents.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland participates in an armchair discussion with journalist Masha Gessen, moderated by Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books and Music, at the Women in the World Summit in Toronto, Sept. 10, 2018.

"There is not going to be a deal - period - unless there is a compromise in that area because that is what he campaigned on and it's stuck to him and he's stuck with it", Mulroney said. "We remain focused on what's in the interests of Canadians and what's in the interests of our workers and our country's economy".

Trump has notified Congress he intends to sign the trade deal reached last week with Mexico by the end of November, and officials said the text would be published by around October 1. It also wants significant new access to Canada's sheltered dairy industry and seeks the relaxing of foreign ownership restrictions on Canadian media companies.

New chapters governing the digital economy and stronger intellectual property, labor and environmental standards could also work to the benefit of USA companies, possibly helping Trump to fulfill his campaign promise of creating more American jobs.

Under that system, the US 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.

"I think it's something that we obviously have to be aware the president is contemplating".

He added that the Office of the United States Trade Representative wants to wrap up talks with Canada quickly.

"If (Trump) goes to Congress with a bilateral arrangement with Mexico, he's got problems - real problems", Mulroney said.

"There's a range of things we've been firm on and will continue to be firm on, but there's also things we're looking to be flexible on because it's time to update this deal after 25 years", he said in an interview with Winnipeg radio station CJOB. "The conversations over the weekend continued to be constructive and productive".