NAFTA Talks Between U.S. and Canada Make Progress
WASHINGTON, DC - Wednesday marked the first day that NAFTA talks between the United States and Canada resumed after last week’s sessions ended Friday on a negative note. However, Reuters reports that the two countries have made progress this week and both sides are “upbeat.”
“We sent them (the officials) a number of issues to work on and they will report back to us in the morning, and we will then continue our negotiations,” Canada’s Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters as she left the U.S. Trade Representative’s office this past Wednesday after engaging in talks with U.S. trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer.
While the industry held its breath last week as the United States and Canada worked to meet the deadline on reaching an agreement and announcing to Congress their plan to move forward, President Trump said he expects to know whether Canada will agree to a deal in the next couple of days. Currently, Trump is threatening to move forward in overhauling NAFTA with Mexico, which would end NAFTA as we know it and is in turn pressuring Canada to make a decision.
Trump has told Congress he intends to sign the trade deal with Mexico by the end of November. Canadian officials, however, are in no rush.
“We’re not saying we don’t want to move swiftly to try and get a deal. But I think certainly we were always intending to take as long as it was going to take,” an anonymous government official said, according to Reuters. “We’re seeing goodwill on all sides, and if we see some flexibility, then I think we can start to see things moving in a good direction.”
Democrats, however, continue to insist Trump cannot terminate NAFTA without the approval of Congress, with some even announcing plans to reject the NAFTA rewrite should it exclude Canada and fail to raise wages for U.S. workers. Blocking the rewrite is possible if the Democrats gain a House majority this November.
“Trump is relying on bluster and bullying in a desperate attempt to get Congress to swallow his half-baked deal. You can’t fix NAFTA without fixing issues with Canada,” said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.
According to Bloomberg, Richard Neal of Massachusetts, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means committee, added, “We want to make sure people understand congressional authority here. Canada should be in the deal. This should be a trilateral, not a bilateral deal.”
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