Posted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:35 pm Post subject: The never-ending trade talks ...
Freeland returns to Canada empty-handed
By SABRINA RODRIGUEZ and DOUG PALMER 09/21/2018 10:00 AM EDT
FREELAND RETURNS TO CANADA EMPTY-HANDED: Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland returned to Canada on Thursday night without a NAFTA 2.0 breakthrough to announce as negotiators from the U.S. and Canada remain under pressure to reach a deal this month.
Freeland opted not to use the word “progress” when discussing the status of the negotiations on Thursday afternoon. Asked why she has not used the word recently, she said: “I chose my words carefully. Today we discussed some tough issues. The conversation was constructive.”
But even if the U.S. and Canada reach a deal, negotiators from the U.S., Mexico and Canada still need to meet to put together the technical texts for a trilateral deal, Mexico’s chief NAFTA negotiator, Kenneth Smith Ramos, said Thursday.
Hold-ups remain: U.S. access to Canadian dairy markets, Canada’s push to preserve the dispute settlement mechanism housed in Chapter 19 of the existing deal and U.S. efforts to reduce Canadian access to the U.S. government procurement market are still among the outstanding issues in the U.S.-Canada talks, Smith Ramos said. Ottawa has sought to maintain and increase Canadian companies’ access to U.S. government procurement contracts.
Those topics have “put off the closing of this negotiation, but that could be resolved in the coming days, if not weeks,” Smith Ramos said at the Center for Research and Teaching in Economics in Mexico City.
What’s next: Freeland is scheduled to be in Montreal today to co-host a meeting of female foreign ministers. Freeland did not specify when she will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer next, but she noted that they’ll remain in close touch via phone and email.
Nine more days to go, and we enter the danger zone.
I think we have a take-it-or-leave-it-deal on the table. Maybe they are delaying their concession until after the Quebec election. Let's hope there's a rising chorus of serious opinion running against the Liberal approach.
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