9/11 anniversary gives perspective to NAFTA impasse, Freeland says

Sainte-Marie-Madelaine Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS  Ryan Remiorz

Sainte-Marie-Madelaine Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS Ryan Remiorz

U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to push ahead with a bilateral deal with Mexico, effectively killing the nearly 25-year-old three-country NAFTA pact, which covers $1.2 trillion in trade.

Freeland said that discussions between U.S. and Canadian negotiating teams over the weekend were "constructive and productive", so she flew in for what may be the only a day of talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.

The officials have held two weeks of talks but ended Friday afternoon without reaching an agreement that would keep Canada in the three-nation pact.

Republican Tom Reed, a member of the Committee of ways and means of the House of representatives, said in a television interview broadcast on Sunday that provide a larger market access to u.s. dairy producers could appease president Donald Trump.

The director of public Affairs of Teamsters Canada, Christopher Monette, who attended behind-the-scenes to the most recent negotiations in Washington, believes that the administration, Trump would not touch the system of supply management, particularly as it relates to the dairy industry. He said Canada and the United States spent a lot of time last week reconciling what the US and Mexico had already agreed upon.

"Sure, it's business and it's important, but Gander is the place that - in a snapshot - illustrates the Canada-U.S. relationship".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the mechanism is crucial to a new NAFTA, but Mexico already has agreed to drop it.

Freeland emerged after meeting with Lighthizer, saying talks were occurring in a "good" atmosphere. Perdue said on C-SPAN that Lighthizer has been "very clear" about the need for the Class 7 pricing system to be repealed.

Trudeau, whose federal Liberal government relies on support from Ontario and Quebec where most dairy farmers live, has said he will defend Canada's dairy industry, without giving details. "People are kind of sitting on the sidelines thinking, 'How will this affect us in the future?' If we were to lose the auto industry here that would put us into some type of recession", Chiodo said, noting that the auto trade has "always been pretty fair" for both the USA and Canada.

US officials say time is running out to reach a deal that the current Congress can vote on. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1.

Yet, he stressed that "if we sign the deal it'll be. for Canada and Canadians. You can't fix NAFTA without fixing issues with Canada", said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade.

In 2016, after yielding greater market access under the European Union deal, Trudeau's government paid dairy farms and processors hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate and is expected to pay out again for the Pacific deal.

On Canadian soil, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft was expressing much the same sentiment.

But U.S. economists argue the dispute resolution is "on the balance".

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