Saturday, 17 November, 2018

Canada seeks intensive NAFTA talks, even as Trump wants to wait

Outgoing leader Enrique Pena Nieto has had the lowest poll ratings since records began Outgoing leader Enrique Pena Nieto has had the lowest poll ratings since records began
Nellie Chapman | 06 July, 2018, 13:54

Lopez Obrador told the Televisa network Monday that he will respect the current team of negotiators, and let them continue representing Mexico until he takes office December 1, noting that he wants to have information on what's being discussed and "to help as much as we can".

However, Trump imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports of the March has strained relations between the three countries. Starting Sunday, a wide range of US staples were hit, including chocolate, ketchup, yogurt, beef, caffeinated roasted coffee, orange juice, maple syrup, salad dressing and soups.

Also on Friday, the European Union threatened that the global community would put tariffs on up to $290 billion of USA products if Trump moves forward with tariffs on foreign autos.

"It's unbelievable that a president, under the banner of "America First" and trying to advance the interest of his nation, is considered bad by the overwhelming majority of the American media and as much of the American people as it is", says Seton Motley of Less Government.

Following his overwhelming majority win, Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he supports reaching a deal on renegotiating NAFTA with the United States and Canada.

But with Trump's inflammatory rhetoric, Canada's retaliatory tariffs against the USA and a leftist, anti-establishment Mexican president about to join the fray, there are some who believe any North American Free Trade Agreement talks may be in long-term limbo. Freeland responded by telling a committee earlier this month that if Trump imposes further tariffs on auto parts, Canada's response will be robust.

In recent months, Trump has frequently attacked Canadian trade barriers on agriculture - dairy products in particular - as unfairly hurting American farmers. Instead, Canada has chosen to escalate a trade disagreement further towards a trade war. Trudeau's office said the prime minister "conveyed that Canada has had no choice but to announce reciprocal countermeasures" to the US tariffs.

Speaking on Sunday in Leamington, Ontario, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Canadians for standing united against President Donald Trump's sanctions. We're on your side, they said.

The prime minister has said they've disagreed over Trump's call for Canada to open up its supply management system during NAFTA talks.

Once automotive issues are addressed, the remaining NAFTA sticking points will largely be between Canada and the USA - and it's an open question how much room Trudeau will have to manoeuvre Trudeau in areas like government procurement, supply management and intellectual property.