October 18, 2017 8:12 am

Bill Kelly: The gloves come off in NAFTA talks

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland addresses whether the U.S. is using aggressive or bad faith NAFTA bargaining during negotiations.

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I think we all knew it would happen; the smiles and pleasantries are gone and the gloves have come off in the prickly NAFTA negotiations in Washington.

Canada’s Chrystia Freeland accused the Americans of trying to undermine NAFTA rather than modernize the pact, and the American  point man, Robert Lighthizer, accused Canada and Mexico of trying to hold onto what he calls unfair advantages.

Frankly, I thought the entire process was doomed from the outset.

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Trump has always ranted that he wanted to tear up NAFTA, and if he does, I’m sure that his political base will cheer him on for flexing his political muscle.

READ MORE: Canada heartened by new congressional research report on NAFTA: source

But neither Trump nor his followers seem to have a grasp of the geo-political landscape, in trade agreements or detente for that matter.

By  demanding a five-year sunset clause on any NAFTA deal and essentially deconstructing the dispute resolution process, it was obvious that Trump never had any intention of negotiating, but instead, to dictate terms of surrender for Canada and Mexico.

READ MORE: Canada, Mexico reject U.S. NAFTA proposals as latest round of talks wind down

All three negotiating teams have decided to go home and cool off for four or five weeks and that’s a good idea at this point.

The chances of a deal before the end of the year seem impossible now, and if attitudes don’t change, the chance of any deal at all seems just as remote.

Bill Kelly is the host of Bill Kelly Show on AM 900 CHML and a commentator for Global News.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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