Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Economy | By

NAFTA: "store supply management, " said Teamsters Canada

NAFTA:

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland were unable to clinch a deal despite meeting late into the evening on Thursday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, speaking in an interview broadcast on Sunday, said Canada had to scrap a low-price milk proteins policy to reach a deal on NAFTA. U.S. "It would cause a massive disruption and I think lots of layoffs in the United States", Trudeau said on Canadian radio.

"Our farmers don't have access to the Canadian markets the way that they have access to us".

"I would be very surprised if Canada can achieve a negotiated, successful free trade deal with the United States without showing flexibility on supply management, he said".

As Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland arrived back in Washington, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned of what he termed "massive disruption" and job loses on both sides of the border if Washington follows through on threats to impose auto tariffs.

Trump argues Canada's hefty dairy tariffs are hurting USA farmers, an important political base for his Republican party.

Also unresolved are protections to Canada's cultural sector and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism.


Freeland emerged after meeting with Lighthizer, saying talks were occurring in a "good" atmosphere.

No word yet on when she might return to Washington to continue NAFTA talks. While Reuters reported on Tuesday that Canada is prepared to make concessions on the issue, it is likely to face opposition among supporters of Trudeau's Liberal Party in Ontario and Quebec.

The talks are focused on US demands to scrap the so-called Chapter-19 dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA, overturn some of Canada's current "carve-out" of cultural industries from free-trade rules and loosen protections under the dairy sector's supply management system.

"Having said all of that, nothing is done until everything is done" - and that says it all really, but US officials have said time is running out to agree on a text that can be signed by American, Canadian and Mexican leaders by November 30, before the current Mexican government leaves office. "There are nearly two dozen chapters closed" in the NAFTA deal including reducing red tape on cross-border trade, he said on Monday.

Canada's dairy farmers believe they've already given enough to foreign producers in previous trade deals and aren't interested in ceding any more ground.

Former federal Canadian trade official Matthew Kronby said the reported American demands indicate to him that the White House doesn't really want to strike a deal with Canada.

In 2016, after yielding greater market access under the European Union deal, Trudeau's government paid dairy farms and processors hundreds of millions of dollars to compensate and is expected to pay out again for the Pacific deal.

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