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Details of the preliminary US-Mexico trade deal, at a glance

01 September, 2018, 19:26 | Author: Sara Gill
  • Trump has been a frequent critic of NAFTA calling it the

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said that Mexico's "difficult" concessions to the United States on Monday would pave the way for productive talks this week as all three countries race toward a Friday deadline for a deal to modernize the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement. Even if more plants are built in Mexico, jobs will grow in the United States due to high levels of integration, with studies showing that U.S. parts make up 40 per cent of the value of every Mexican-built vehicle exported to the United States.

A potential trade deal between the U.S. and Mexico has been greeted with cautious optimism in the Canadian automotive sector despite renewed threats by U.S. President Donald Trump to impose tariffs on the industry. He warned that Canada's return to the negotiating table may upend the consensus on autos reached by the US and Mexico.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is in Washington for the latest round of negotiations, flanked by senior Canadian officials, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his point-man on USA relations, Brian Clow.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the idea of leaving Canada out of the deal "was met with near universal condemnation" among Republican senators, some of whom maintain Trump does not have congressional authority to turn NAFTA into a two-way deal - a view echoed privately by Canadian officials.

Following another face-to-face meeting with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Freeland said she remains "optimistic" the sides can bridge their differences by Friday.

But Trump wasn't saying much about Canada, other than "we'll see if Canada can be part" of a new continental arrangement.

"If Canada signs on to a deal, which is our base case (even if timing is fuzzy), expect the loonie to appreciate further".

Earlier in the day, both Larry Kudlow, the director of Trump's National Economic Council, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross turned up the heat on Canada's negotiators during televised interviews.

But details of gains and concessions in the deal were only starting to emerge on Monday, and Trump threatened he still could put tariffs on Canadian-made cars if Canada did not join its neighbors.

Friday is when Lighthizer will send a letter to Congress, which starts a 90-day clock for lawmakers to look over the agreement for ratification. They've been treated very, I would say, in a rough manner by Canada.

"Ultimately, we've got huge issues that are still to be resolved", said Jerry Dias, head of Canada's influential Unifor labour union.

Canada's protected supply-managed dairy industry emerged as a major 11th-hour irritant as the Trudeau government returned Tuesday to what could be the final, pivotal round of talks to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement.

While critics said Canada had been frozen out, Freeland has repeatedly stressed that she remained in close touch with her Mexican and United States counterparts throughout the summer and had already achieved "a high-level agreement with the US" on some of the pending issues on autos and labor rights. Mexico has already offered concessions to the USA, especially in terms of rules of origin.

Ildefonso Guajardo, Mexico's economy minister, said that if Canada doesn't sign the deal, the pact between the USA and Mexico will need some tweaks. What's the rollback in the other areas, and what does Mexico think they agreed to?

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland engaged in trade talks in D.C. on Tuesday, after a trade agreement between the US and Mexico was announced on Monday. The U.S. -Mexico agreement stipulates a 16-year NAFTA that would be reviewed and possibly extended every six years.

The Trudeau government has repeatedly pledged to protect dairy farmers, but Canada has opened up limited access to its dairy market in previous trade talks, including its comprehensive pact with the European Union.


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