Money Canada pushing for intensive NAFTA talks

03:31  04 july  2018
03:31  04 july  2018 Source:

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Canada 's stance is being pushed by its unions. Canada 's got two problems: The low wage rates in Mexico and the right-to-work states in the United States," Jerry Dias, head of Unifor, Canada 's largest private-sector trade union, told reporters in Mexico City last week, where the second round of talks

Trilateral talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement ( NAFTA ) have entered a new intensive phase that will continue in the coming days, Canada ’s foreign minister told reporters yesterday. However, it is still pushing to implement a so-called sunset clause that would see the

a group of people sitting at a desk© Provided by OTTAWA - The federal Liberal government is determined to rekindle intensive talks on a new continental trade pact this summer — even though President Donald Trump says he won't sign a renegotiated NAFTA until after the U.S. midterm elections this fall.

Now that Mexico's presidential election is done, Ottawa wants negotiations on the North America Free Trade Agreement to restart as soon as possible, one government official familiar with the plan said on condition of anonymity.

"Our priority has always been to conclude a mutually beneficial agreement as quickly as possible and that, I think, remains our goal," said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

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LONDON, Ontario (Reuters) - Canada is talking tough with the United States, stressing its determination to push back against FILE PHOTO: Flags are pictured during the fifth round of NAFTA talks involving the United States, Mexico and Canada , in Mexico City, Mexico, November 19, 2017.

Nafta talks have entered a new, intensive phase of discussions and will continue in the coming days, Canada ’s foreign minister said after meeting with her U.S. and Mexican counterparts in Washington.

"That's what we're going to stay focused on. We'll see where it goes."

That effort is expected to intensify following Monday's election win by Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has already said he supports the continued renegotiation of NAFTA and wants his own team of experts to be part of the talks before he takes office Dec. 1.

Until Lopez Obrador is sworn in, members of the current Mexican administration will continue to serve as the country's lead NAFTA negotiators, the official said.

Trump, however, has said he wants to wait until after November's U.S. congressional midterms before committing to a new agreement.

In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News, Trump said he could quickly sign a revised NAFTA with Canada and Mexico, but instead wants to land a better deal for the U.S. Asked about the timing of an agreement, Trump said: "I want to wait until after the election."

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Canada won’t be “bowled over” at the NAFTA negotiating table, Justin Trudeau vowed Wednesday in the face of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ongoing push for a quicker resolution to the ongoing trade talks . READ MORE: Donald Trump pushes for quick NAFTA deal in phone call with Justin Trudeau.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz recently warned that uncertainty over NAFTA could derail the Canadian economy. In a keynote speech on Tuesday, Mr. Trudeau will talk up Canadian investment opportunities and highlight his belief in progressive trade and gender equality.

Trump has also indicated repeatedly he'd be open to striking separate agreements with Canada and Mexico.

A fresh round of talks on the three-country pact will come with Canada and the U.S. locked in an unprecedented, cross-border trade fight. The neighbours have already swapped punitive tariffs on some imports — and there are fears things could get worse.

On Sunday, Ottawa responded to the Trump administration's tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum with duties of its own against U.S. imports — dollar-for-dollar, reciprocal tariffs that target steel and aluminum, as well as a long list of consumer goods, the government says.

Trump himself has already threatened to go even further by putting tariffs on the auto sector, which could prove far more damaging for the Canadian economy than the steel and aluminum duties.

That tariff fight will form a rather tense backdrop for the effort to reach a NAFTA deal, which Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has said she expects to ramp up soon, following several conversations last week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

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Canada 'S freeland says expects NAFTA talks will enter new intensive phase in wake of mexico's presidential election.

"The modernization of NAFTA also offers Canada the opportunity to integrate progressive, free and fair approaches to North American trade and investment." Grits pushing 'progressive' elements.

On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Lopez Obrador by phone. The two discussed "mutually beneficial economic and trading relationship between the two countries, and their shared priority of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement for the betterment of their peoples," Trudeau's office said in a statement.

Canada's retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods do nothing to help Canada and will only hurt American workers, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Monday.

"We've been very nice to Canada for many years and they've taken advantage of that, particularly advantage of our farmers," she said.

In recent months, Trump has frequently attacked Canadian trade barriers on agriculture — dairy products in particular — as unfairly hurting American farmers.

Trump told Fox about proposing to his G7 partners during last month's summit in Quebec that all seven countries remove all trade-related barriers and taxes.

"Canada, you're not going to get 275 per cent for your dairy and you're going to take down all your barriers," he said as an example. "'We're going to take down all our barriers, we're going to take down all our taxes,' right?

Stop trying to 'play nice' with Trump, Mexican ex-congressman tells Canada

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The notes appear to be connected to Canada 's foreign policy concerns and the talks around the North American Free Trade Agreement , or NAFTA . The US is pushing for the clause, while Canada and Mexico are opposed.

Nafta talks meet again in Washington beginning Thursday as they continue to push for a deal in U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will meet Canada 's Chrystia Freeland and Mexico's The sessions come amid the latest technical talks -- what Freeland called an " intensive phase" -- after the

"Do you know what happened? Everybody said, 'Uh, can we get on to another subject?'"

Trudeau has insisted the U.S. president's complaints about Canada's trade barriers are the result of Canada's refusal to give in to Trump's demands to do away with the country's supply-management system, which is designed to protect dairy, poultry and egg producers.

Both Mexico's election and the congressional midterms had been billed as major wrinkles for the talks. But as the timelines drag on, Canada's own trip to the polls — currently scheduled for October 2019 — is becoming one of the biggest "wild cards," said Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo.

Once automotive issues are addressed, the remaining NAFTA sticking points will largely be between Canada and the U.S. — and it's an open question how much room Trudeau will have to manoeuvre Trudeau in areas like government procurement, supply management and intellectual property.

"Who would've thought that at the start of negotiations that the flexibility of Canada could be the most significant driver as to whether or not we get a NAFTA deal?"

— with files from Associated Press

Bank of Canada expected to raise rate .
The Bank of Canada is widely expected to raise its trend-setting interest rate today for the first time in six months. Thanks to stronger economic data, experts are predicting governor Stephen Poloz to hike the rate from its current level of 1.25 per cent.Poloz has followed a cautious, data-dependent approach in recent months and he hasn't touched the rate since raising it in January, a move that came after two earlier increases in the second half of 2017.The central bank's rate decision arrives as Canada faces significant trade-related uncertainties, including stalled NAFTA talks, U.S.

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