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Canada Returns to NAFTA Talks


Negotiators from Canada rushed to Washington, D.C. this week to resume talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The U.S. is pushing to get a so-called handshake agreement with Canada, following a framework agreement with Mexico. The U.S. seeks to announce a deal by the end of this week, placing a deadline of Friday. However, that deadline is purely political, as the U.S. wants to notify Congress 90 days before the outgoing Mexican President’s term expires. Under Trade Promotion Authority, the administration must give Congress a 90-day notice before sending the agreement to Congress for consideration.

Trump has suggested breaking up NAFTA, and signing separate deals with Mexico and Canada. However, Politico points out that by doing so, Trump could forfeit his ability to get a straight up-or-down vote in Congress without any amendments under trade promotion authority. Trump notified Congress last year he intended to renegotiate NAFTA, not strike bilateral trade deals. For agriculture, the updated agreement with Mexico included improved food safety standards, biotech approvals and no new tariffs.

Business groups in Canada say it is possible that Canada could agree to a framework deal on NAFTA this week. The CEO of Canadian American Business Council told CNBC Tuesday “I think we can get there this week,” saying there’s just a handful of issues left. Although, the talks are expected to be “harsh” and intensive.”

President Trump spoke with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Monday, and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland arrived in Washington, D.C. Tuesday for continued trade talks.

Source: NAFB News Service