Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Canada, U.S. NAFTA Talks Appear to be Progressing

Canada, U.S. NAFTA Talks Appear to be Progressing

He made the comments as talks to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement drew to a stalemate in Washington, after U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met his Canadian counterpart, Chrystia Freeland, for the third consecutive day.

"It was important to discuss a couple of issues face to face and our officials now continue to work very hard and we've agreed that we'll meet again tomorrow", Freeland told reporters. "The atmosphere continues to be constructive".

Dairy farmer Marie-Pier G. Vincent poses with one of her dairy cows at her farm in Saint-Valerien-de-Milton, southeast of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug. 30, 2018.

U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters that differences remained between the two sides over Canada's dairy quota regime and a dispute resolution settlement procedure.

USA officials have said they want to reach a deal by the end of September to allow for a signing ceremony by the end of November - before Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto hands over the reigns to his presidential successor Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Trudeau said this week that his "red lines" are the preservation of the "Chapter 19" dispute resolution system, which allows Canada to challenge USA duties at an independent panel rather than in US courts, and the preservation of the "cultural exemption" that allows Canada to favour Canadian music, movies and television, among other cultural products, over USA competitors.

However, congressional Democrats are saying that if they win a majority in the House of Representatives, this November, they will oppose any NAFTA replacement agreement that excludes Canada. "A lot depends on the seriousness of Canada in resolving these final disputes", Mr brady said.

"My sense is that everyone is at the table with the intention of working these last, always hard issues out", Brady told reporters after speaking with Lighthizer on Thursday. Washington charges that Canadian lumber unfairly undercuts prices on USA lumber.

Trump reiterated his desire to rename the 24-year-old continental trade deal after his "historic announcement" with Mexico.

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The latter deal offered 10 other Pacific Rim countries access to 3.25 per cent of Canada's dairy market - and most analysts predict the USA will settle for nothing less in NAFTA.

Trump said Wednesday that he expected it to be clear whether there would be a deal to include Canada in a few days.

Both Canada and Mexico want Trump to agree to permanently exempt them from USA tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

Aides to the USA and Canadian sides worked late into the night after the talks started in Washington on Wednesday, suggesting that areas for potential progress in the talks had been identified.

"Canada's position on the 232 tariffs is unchanged".

Talks on issues are happening around the clock, she said.

Trump has claimed that the 1994 NAFTA pact has caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S.jobs, something that most economists dispute. "It will be called the U.S. -Mexico trade deal", he said to partisan applause.

They appear to be mirroring the rhetoric of the Trump administration, which insists that it is pursuing a better deal for USA citizens.

During the day, she and Lighthizer pored over results from their front-line negotiators who held a long stretch of talks that started Wednesday night and finished in the early morning hours of Thursday.

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