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US, Canada to resume Nafta talks
14 September 2018, 03:29 | Kelvin Horton
US, Canada to resume Nafta talks
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland returns to Washington for another round of NAFTA talks with the United States Tuesday despite an apparent deadlock between the two countries over Canada's insistence on preserving a key dispute-resolution chapter of the accord.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during an interview Tuesday with a Winnipeg radio station, CJOB, that there are certain positions Canada has and remain firm on.
Canada and the United States have been negotiating since August 28 after Washington unveiled a proposed North American free-trade deal with Mexico and pressed Canada to sign on or be left out. President Donald Trump has notified Congress of his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico, with Canada welcome to join the deal "if it is willing", the White House said Friday. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1.
Following the talks in Washington, Freeland will travel to Saskatoon, western Canada, on Wednesday to attend a meeting of Liberal members of parliament, which runs until Thursday, Austen said.
Although issues related to autos, such as the USA push to boost North American content in vehicles, have been a major part of the negotiations, other issues, particularly a desire for more US access to Canada's dairy market and Canadian insistence on maintaining NAFTA's dispute resolution system, are believed to be some of the major remaining sticking points. "You can't fix NAFTA without fixing issues with Canada", said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade.
"We agreed that it would be useful to continue talking today, so we're back for more negotiations", Freeland told reporters as she entered the USTR offices in Washington.
The trade ministers are set to meet again at the end of the month.
Trump almost tore up the NAFTA pact previous year after visiting farmers in Wisconsin, a major US dairy producer that Washington says has been hurt by Canadian protectionism.
Lighthizer spent Monday in Brussels for trade discussions with the European Union - preliminary talks that are scheduled to resume later this fall.
"And one of the things that I think we are accomplishing in this agreement is a better deal for Canadian and USA workers in the auto sector".
"I think this is a complicated time for employees".
The latest talks between Canada and the United States have been intense but constructive, marking a departure from acrimonious tit-for-tat that surrounded past rounds.
As the process grinds on, some in Washington insist Trump can not pull out of NAFTA without the approval of Congress.
US officials say time is running out to agree on a text on which the current Congress can vote.
"The U.S. knows what Canada's tough issues are, so they're going to hold those to the end, and squeeze out concessions on every other issue they can", said Ujczo, who is regularly briefed on the talks.
Trump added a layer of urgency to the negotiations late last month after announcing his deal with Mexico.
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