NAFTA talks this summer on federal government's wish list

Irving Hamilton
July 6, 2018

"Our priority has always been to conclude a mutually beneficial agreement as quickly as possible and that, I think, remains our goal", said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. "I don't think anyone realistically has an expectation that that's something the US administration - especially this one - would be all that impressed by".

Speaking on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Tuesday, Agustin Barrios Gomez said Canada needs to understand that Canada is living in a new world where the friendship that bound it to its southern neighbour "no longer is currency with the current administration" in Washington.

Mexican president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said he supports the continued renegotiation of NAFTA, and wants his own team of experts to be part of the talks before he takes office December 1. "The United States is a country with significant national security challenges and only by having a Canada and Mexico that are cooperative can they actually get things done". Trump said he and López Obrador also discussed the possibility of a separate trade deal exclusively between Mexico and the U.S. "Make no mistake about it".

The effort to restart stalled negotiations on the North America Free Trade Agreement comes with Canada and the US swapping punitive tariffs on imports in an ongoing cross-border trade fight.

A cosier, more modest Fourth of July party than usual is scheduled for the US ambassador's residence in Ottawa tonight - and the decision by some to steer clear will make it even smaller than planned. "It has really hit their bottom line", he told Cullen Tuesday.

Trump, however, has said he wants to wait until after November's US congressional midterms before committing to a new agreement.

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Trump has clashed with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over trade, with the USA president tweeting last month after departing the G-7 meetings in Quebec that Trudeau was "weak" and "dishonest".

The president's decision to push back the NAFTA talks comes as the USA and Canada have been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade dispute over Trump's tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Canada's Building Trades Unions stands with the Trudeau Government in continuing to press the Trump Administration to rescind its misguided tariffs.

In the interview, Trump again threatened to impose tariffs on imported vehicles, saying, "The cars are the big ones".

The new Canadian tariffs, which took effect at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, are hitting a long list of US consumer goods, including ketchup and other Kraft Heinz products. Free Trade Agreement and NAFTA, said he doesn't go to many functions anymore - but he chose to make a point of attending this year's party after he heard that some people planned to avoid it.

"The first rule of a new NAFTA is: first, do no harm".

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