Canada, U.S. resume trade talks
The Trump administration is calling on Canada to endorse the recent agreement reached by the U.S. and Mexico, which featured important decisions made by the two countries on autos.
Canada and the U.S. have resumed NAFTA renegotiations on the heels of Monday’s side deal between the Trump administration and Mexico.
As reported in the Globe and Mail and other Canadian media outlets, negotiators for both Canada and the U.S. have agreed that the deal struck between the U.S. and Mexico may have removed one of NAFTA’s most significant hurdles: defining the content rules of North American automobiles.
Top members of Canada’s negotiating team returned to Washington on August 28 to resume the talks, and now face pressure to join the deal Trump’s his administration struck with Mexico.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who cut short a week-long diplomatic trip to Europe to travel to Washington, met on August 28 with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. It was her first in-person NAFTA meeting with Lighthizer in several months.
After their one-hour meeting, Freeland told reporters that over the coming days, the negotiating teams would search for new areas of compromise, but she declined to comment on what could be on the table for Canada.
“Some positions have moved since the last time we met face to face and we’ll be looking closely at what those changes are and what they mean for Canada,” Freeland told reporters. She also credited Mexico for making “tough decisions” to compromise on labour as part of its auto rules of origin talks with the U.S.
According to the terms of the deal struck between the U.S. and Mexico, workers earning at least US$16 an hour should make 40 per cent to 45 per cent of autos. The agreement also mandates that 75 per cent of automobile content will come from within North America, an increase from the current 62.5 per cent.
The U.S. and Mexico also agreed on issues such as intellectual property, digital trade, labour, and financial services. The new deal would expire after 16 years with reviews every six years.