Canada, US in last-minute NAFTA deal

Adjust Comment Print

Earlier this summer Lighthizer, the USA trade representative, took a different tack by negotiating separately with Mexico and ultimately forging a bilateral agreement, putting pressure on Ottawa to join or face the possibility of being left out.

David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to Washington, said earlier that the US and Canada had made a lot of progress, but there was no deal yet.

"Everybody's negotiating in good faith right now as we speak and the deadline is midnight tonight to get the text in to Congress in order to make sure this goes forward", said Navarro.

The developments on NAFTA have prompted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to hold a rare Sunday night cabinet meeting on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

The trade impasse was overcome after both parties made some concessions, with Canada agreeing to grant USA farmers greater access to its dairy market and limit its automotive exports to the US.

Without Canada's signature, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has said he would present a bilateral U.S. -Mexico agreement to Congress and keep talking to Canada.

"The door has been closed on the region's trade fragmentation", he said, adding the deal "will give certainty and stability to Mexico's trade with its North American partners".

The key one concerns the dairy system in Canada.

Mexico has also scrambled to try and ensure that the Nafta pact remains trilateral.

Reuters reported Sunday that Lighthizer and White House adviser Jared Kushner planned to brief Trump on Sunday.

Federal Bureau of Investigation to Probe Man Who Made False Rape Allegation Against Kavanaugh
Trump vowed on Saturday that the Federal Bureau of Investigation could interview "whoever they deem appropriate". The woman was identified as Maria Gallagher and told the senator that she was the victim of sexual assault.

The deal will preserve a trade dispute mechanism that Canada fought hard to maintain, to protect its lumber industry and other sectors from USA anti-dumping tariffs.

The flags of Canada, Mexico and the USA are seen on a lectern before a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico, March 5, 2018.

In August, the United States and Mexico resolved an issue over auto manufacturing, but several sticking points with Canada remained.

Earlier in the day, MacNaughton indicated to reporters waiting outside the PM's office that a deal was around the corner.

"It would be a monumental mistake to do this without Canada", U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of OR, the top Democrat on the Senate committee that oversees trade, said Friday, before the text was delivered.

The pact also requires that vehicle manufacturers source at least 70 percent of their steel and aluminum from within the three countries. Canada also wanted to keep a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the USA wanted to jettison. "It's a great win for the president and a validation of his strategy in the area of worldwide trade", said one senior USA official.

Let us also remember that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has backed the controversial Chapter 11 investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provision in the deal that handcuffs public interest legislation affecting the future profits of corporations.

It was essential for the parties to reach the deal, coveted by industries in both states, before midnight, so that it could be signed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on his last day in office, December 1.

"It's a great deal and that's why Mexico has already entered into that deal with us", he told Fox News in another interview on September 29.

The two nations signed a side letter allowing Washington to pursue tariffs on annual Mexican auto and SUV imports of over 2.4 million vehicles, a number that significantly exceeds last year's total.