Canada, U.S. miss NAFTA deadline, talks to resume next week
Canada and the U.S. have missed a Friday deadline for NAFTA talks, but will resume negotiations next week.
“We’re continuing to work very hard and we’re making progress,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Friday afternoon. “We’re not there yet.”
She said “this is a very complex agreement,” and they are continuing to work at it.
Freeland has said her job is to ensure that this deal is beneficial to Canadian workers, businesses and families, because she’s “paid in Canadian dollars.”
U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto announced a bilateral U.S.-Mexico deal Monday morning, saying it was to replace the trilateral NAFTA.
A deadline was set for Canada to agree to the terms of the deal by Friday, to ensure Peña Nieto was able to sign the agreement before the end of his term, but experts say there is an opportunity for Canada to join the deal before it’s finalized at the end of September.
While the negotiations were private, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said Canada has made no concessions on the thorny issue of dairy supply management.
Another sticking point appeared to be Trump’s comments implying the U.S. was not negotiating in good faith, when he said the negotiation was “totally” on U.S. terms.
But Freeland declined to talk about specific issues holding up the deal Friday.
WATCH: On Friday morning, Freeland said they were ‘not there yet’ on NAFTA deal
Trump notified Congress about his intent to sign a trade agreement with Mexico Friday afternoon, saying there was an opportunity for Canada to join “if it is willing.”
In his letter to Congress, Trump said the deal “sets high standards for free, fair, and reciprocal trade.”
“We have also been negotiating with Canada throughout this year-long process. This week those meetings continued at all levels. The talks were constructive, and we made progress. Our officials are continuing to work toward agreement. The USTR team will meet with Minister Freeland and her colleagues Wednesday of next week,” a separate statement from Lighthizer read.
A senior Trump administration official told Reuters the U.S.’s intention is to keep Canada part of a three-way trade pact with Mexico.
WATCH: So what are the deal-breakers for Canada in the NAFTA talks?
The Senate will examine the deal and make its own decision on whether the Trump administration’s notice complies with the Trade Promotion Authority requirements, the official said.
Sources said Canadian officials have made it clear they will not agree to any NAFTA deal without Chapter 19, the guideline for dispute resolution between the two countries.
It’s unclear whether Chapter 19 is included in the tentative deal, but Lighthizer reportedly wants to eliminate it.
WATCH: Trump addresses ‘off-the-record’ comments about trade talks with Canada
At a speech in North Carolina on Friday, Trump took another swipe at Canada. “I love Canada, but they’ve taken advantage of our country for many years,” he said.
*with files from Global’s Mercedes Stephenson and Reuters
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