US, Canada resume NAFTA talks; deal could be reached over the weekend, says Mexican official
Trade representatives from the U.S. and Canada on Wednesday resumed negotiations to revise the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with talks that went on very late at night to flesh out areas for further discussion, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said.
According to Reuters, Freeland emerged optimistic after the meeting “although she cautioned that no trade deal was done until the last issue was nailed down”.
A known sticking point between Canada and the United States is Chapter 19, which allows companies that feel their products have been unfairly hit by anti-dumping or countervailing duties to request arbitration.
Such mechanism is necessary in a world where the president of the United States “doesn’t always follow the rules,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said yesterday, according to Canadian media.
Canada also wants a permanent exemption from Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs and the threat of auto tariffs to be removed. It also wants to continue protections for its dairy industry and defend lumber exports to the United States, which have been hit with duties.
Meanwhile, during an aluminum industry event in Mexico City, Mexican chief negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos told that he hoped Canada and the U.S. would come to an accord by Friday or Saturday.
Smith Ramos added that Mexico would have to rejoin the talks at least briefly to complete a three-country deal, El Economista reported. And any formal agreement would not be final until approved by the three countries’ legislatures — including the U.S. Congress, which has sometimes taken four years or more to vote on trade deals reached by a president.