Protecting Canadian culture a surprise sticking point at NAFTA talks

Protecting Canadian culture a surprise sticking point at NAFTA talks

Protecting Canadian culture a surprise sticking point at NAFTA talks

If they don't reach an agreement by the end of the week, President Trump has threatened to cut Canada out of the deal and forge ahead with a new pact with Mexico alone.

In an interview with CNBC's Squawk Alley, Kim Campbell said Canada's preference would be to have dispute resolution, notably Chapter 19, adding that there could be some flexibility from Canada on the issue. I want to make sure we continue to get trade.

Lighthizer laid out his concerns about the issue in his March report to Trump on the trade barriers faced by the United States.

A week ago, the USA and Mexico reached an agreement on revisions to the current North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which Trump and the unions alike have criticized as a "disaster" (in Trump's words) or "devastating" (in Trumka's) for US workers.

"I think that it's not necessarily a disaster", she said.

Trump almost tore up the NAFTA pact previous year after visiting farmers in Wisconsin, a major US dairy producer that Washington says has been hurt by Canadian protectionism. As long as other countries levy tariffs on USA produced goods, we must also have the ability to do the same to ensure fairness to American companies and workers.

Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, who spent the week in Washington D.C. negotiating with White House officials, tweeted on Friday that Canada is "making progress" in its talks to "modernize NAFTA, but we are not there yet".

Trump is under pressure from Republicans to preserve NAFTA as a deal among all three North American countries, but the president showed signs of chafing at the pressure from Congress.

Canada's top trade negotiator stepped out of high-stakes talks with the Trump administration Wednesday to say that the dialogue was "constructive" but had yet to hit upon a deal.

I think a NAFTA deal is close and that could help to underpin the Canadian dollar in the day ahead.

Trudeau said on Tuesday: "There are a number of things we absolutely must see in a renegotiated NAFTA", and reiterated he would not sign a bad deal.

Canada has used the NAFTA panels repeatedly to appeal American countervailing duties imposed during the past five disputes over softwood lumber - a process the federal government has said it is considering turning to again in the latest spat.

Securing the cultural exemption was a major objective for Ottawa during the negotiations for the original 1988 Canada-U.S. free trade deal. A lot is riding on a new NAFTA deal.

The terms as spelled out in the draft deal "would turn North America from a quasi-permanent free-trade area into a quasi-temporary free-trade area", says Stan Veuger, a resident scholar in political economy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

"It just makes the United States look like a less reliable partner", he says. "I love Canada", he said. Mexico is also taking on a leadership role in the Alliance of the Pacific, a grouping of Latin American countries linked by free markets, while Canada previous year struck a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union. The president has also publicly threatened Canada with more tariffs on auto imports if it does not join in.

That perspective may even be holding tight in Canada, which for the moment is Trump's chief target in his bid to fundamentally redo NAFTA.

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Lighthizer also said American broadcasters operating in border states have also complained about Canadian counterparts picking up the USA signals and redistributing in Canada without consent.

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