Friday, 19 October, 2018

Canada and the United States reach a deal on NAFTA

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia
Jodi Jackson | 01 October, 2018, 11:39

The U.S. and Canada agreed to a trade deal that would preserve a three-way bloc with Mexico, setting the stage for their leaders to sign the accord by the end of November.

Details remained sparse, but U.S. administration officials say the deal - newly christened the U.S. -Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement, or USMCA - provides increased access to Canada's dairy market for U.S. producers and limits the American impact of Canada's controversial supply management system for dairy and poultry products, long a thorn in the side of President Donald Trump.

A senior Trump administration official said Sunday night that the new deal will be renamed the USMCA: the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement.

Negotiators for the USA and Canada were able to overcome major sticking points between the two countries, including Canada's protection of its dairy market and a system for settling trade disputes.

Mexico agreed to remove NAFTA's Chapter 19, a dispute resolution mechanism for anti-dumping matters, which put Canada in a hard position.

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

Earlier Sunday, David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the United States, had said there was "lots of progress, but we're not there yet", before heading back to Washington from Ottawa.

The U.S. and Canada were under pressure to reach a deal by midnight Sunday, when the U.S. must make public the full text of the agreement with Mexico. He said he didn't know if a deal would be reached Sunday.

Among the tough issues that needed to be hashed out between Ottawa and Washington were access to Canada's dairy sector, tariffs and a dispute resolution mechanism that the United States wanted to scrap.

The two sides are discussing the last sticking points, including greater market access for US supplies into Canada's dairy market, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the discussion are private.

After more than a year of talks, and six weeks of intense discussions, the governments were able to overcome their differences with both sides conceding some ground, but both hailing the agreement as a good deal for their citizens in the region of 500 million residents that conducts about $1 trillion in trade a year.

"They're in the final strokes", said the person, based on information from US administration officials.

Canada and Mexico are the United States' two biggest export markets.

A delay would mean current Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto wouldn't be able to sign the deal before he leaves office, placing the fate of the pact in the hands of his successor, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Walkom writes, "A trade pact that can be upended on the whim of the US president is of no use to Canada".

Lawmakers from the three countries still need to approve the pact.

But the USA and Canada had trouble dealing with other areas in the pact, including Canada's dairy industry, its insistence on a strong dispute settlement mechanism and concerns about intellectual property and culture.

"The ideal is a trilateral deal, but we're prepared for the possible need of a bilateral", he told Bloomberg News.

When that text is finally released, it would be advisable to evaluate it in relation to the progressive principles outlined in the Trade: time for a new vision The Alternative Trade Mandate report.

Marc Garneau, a Canadian cabinet minister who heads Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's USA -relations committee, said in a television interview aired Sunday that Canada continues to press for some kind of protection against auto tariffs.

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