Nafta deal: Canada and US race to settle differences as deadline looms

Posted October 01, 2018

It was those attempted discussions that Trump was referring to when he said he refused to meet Trudeau, the official said, rather than a request for a formal bilateral sit-down meeting, which the Canadians said they did not make.

On Thursday, the us Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said that the Congress was ready to approve the agreement with Mexico alone, while forming "hope" an agreement is always possible with the Canada. Lighthizer's press office declined to comment on the matter.

It is unclear, however, whether Trump has authority from Congress to pursue a revamped NAFTA with only Mexico, and some lawmakers say they won't go along with a deal that leaves out Canada.

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.

Asked about the challenge that autos tariffs would pose, Trudeau said Canada would need to feel confident "about the path forward as we move forward - if we do - on a NAFTA 2.0".

The mexican Senate, largely dominated by the left party Morena, the new president, announced that the mexican government would be filing Friday, the text of the agreement signed in August between the United States and Mexico for the approval of the senators.

Mexico also secured an exemption from U.S.

Trump, who has already imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, has also repeatedly threatened to impose even more crippling levies on auto imports if a deal can't get done.

So, what concessions are being made by the United States in efforts to settle the NAFTA deal?

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's top Nafta negotiator, has postponed a planned speech at the United Nations as the US and Canada press to reach an agreement on a trade deal.

The government "is still having constructive discussions" with USA counterparts, and "some" progress has been made, said one insider, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitive nature of the talks.

Canada also wants to keep a NAFTA dispute-resolution process that the USA wants to jettison.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - Freeland's counterpart at the talks - on Tuesday had complained Canada was not making enough concessions and said time was running out.

"The threats to Canada are much bigger than a potential zombie Nafta; the threats come in the form of auto tariffs that would be very devastating to our economy", said Meredith Lilly, trade adviser to Canada's former prime minister, Stephen Harper, and now Simon Reisman Chair in International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Auto industry executives say it is unlikely those targets can be met if Canada is not part of the deal, given supply chains that crisscross NAFTA borders multiple times.

But a Mexican source close to the talks said the United States had in turn agreed to drop a demand for tariffs to protect US seasonal produce growers. But at the end of the day, this president is not going to take a deal that's not good for this country.

Sources familiar with the talks told Reuters on September 11 that Canada was ready to give the United States limited dairy access.

One solution might be to imitate the provisions of the bilateral Mexico-U.S. deal on NAFTA.