Trump, Trudeau raise NAFTA brinkmanship, muse about walking away

Donald Trump

"Our officials have continued to work hard and constructively over the weekend", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said as she entered the talks in downtown Washington.

However, "The thing about trade negotiations is that nothing is done until everything is done", Freeland told reporters following a meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

He reiterated his views again at the White House on Wednesday saying that Canada and "other countries have been taking advantage of the United States for many years".

ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude declined 76 cents to $69.11 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange while Brent crude, used to price worldwide oils, shed 64 cents to $77.51 per barrel in London.

Warner said Ottawa could be trying to stress that it's defending a popular issue with Canadians - particularly in Quebec - because it will have to eventually make concessions elsewhere if it hopes to strike a deal.

US officials told the American Congress on Friday it intends to present them with a trilateral deal.

He said on Twitter that "there is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal".

But it was drafted in a pre-digital, pre-Internet age, and while Canada has said it is open to "modernizing" NAFTA, it continues to insist on a "robust" exception to free trade for cultural industries.

On Tuesday, Campbell said she is "optimistic" a trilateral deal can be reached.

"We will continue to take a gradual approach, guided by incoming data".




The Bank of Canada said Wednesday that the economy has seen improvements in business investment and exports despite persistent uncertainty about NAFTA and other trade policy developments.

Last week, U.S. President Donald Trump announced he had reached a bilateral trade agreement with Mexico that would replace the three-country NAFTA.

The two major trading partners spent most of last week trying to whittle down and resolve the toughest issues ahead, such as more US market access to Canadian dairy, intellectual property protections and dispute settlement rules.

Trudeau said Tuesday he would refuse to sign a new NAFTA unless it preserved the exemptions that have protected Canada's cultural sectors, including broadcasting, publishing and music, for decades.

"We'll walk away and not sign a deal rather than sign a bad deal".

Mexico is also taking on a leadership role in the Alliance of the Pacific, a grouping of Latin American countries linked by free markets, while Canada a year ago struck a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union.

"We will not sign a deal that is bad for Canadians and, quite frankly, not having a Chapter 19 to ensure that the rules are followed would be bad for Canadians".

The tone of the NAFTA renegotiation "has painted the United States as an antagonist that has to be handled", he says. But it makes up a small amount of all the goods traded between the two countries.

Trump sounded a more upbeat note earlier, and said he expected to know whether a deal could be struck to include Canada in the next few days.

Trump also has repeatedly complained about Canada's dairy management program, which uses 270 percent tariffs to impede imports, threatening to impose tariffs on Canadian auto exports unless Ottawa grants the United States unfettered market access. As the process grinds on, some in Washington insist Trump can not pull out of NAFTA without the approval of Congress. The legislators urged top USA negotiator Robert Lighthizer to make sure a new NAFTA deal would address Canada's protectionist dairy policies in a letter sent in April.

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