U.S., Canada slug it out as deadline looms to clinch NAFTA

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .

After more than a year of negotiations, Canada and the United States are still trying to resolve differences over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which also includes Mexico.

As the two nations' chief negotiators prepared to resume their talks in Washington Tuesday, dairy producers suggest this deal is a line in the sand for them.

"The U.S. knows what Canada's tough issues are, so they're going to hold those to the end, and squeeze out concessions on every other issue they can", said Ujczo, who is regularly briefed on the talks.

The prime minister Justin Trudeau has been clear about its intentions: we do not assign the management of the offer. "It would cause a massive disruption and I think lots of layoffs in the United States", Trudeau said on Canadian radio.

Trudeau, facing elections in 2019, said on Sunday (June 10) that Canada "will not be pushed around", triggering a fierce attack from Trump and his advisers, on Tuesday (June 12).

The talks are focused on USA 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.

It's unclear how long the talks are scheduled for this week.

Speculation has been building in recent weeks that the Trump administration is in the midst of a pivot from picking trade fights with allies to focusing on confronting China.

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Freeland also appeared at the women's summit Monday, while Lighthizer was overseas to meet with European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom.

Trudeau, who over the previous year has faced increasing criticism for backtracking on promises, ordering endless consultations on major topics and failing to fulfill many of his campaign promises, had taken a tougher stance against the United States in recent weeks.

After emerging from her meeting with Lighthizer on Friday, Freeland said the negotiations had entered a "very intense" phase, during which officials have been meeting "24-7".

Meanwhile, figures provided to CBC News show that Canada collected almost $300 million in July and August after Ottawa slapped US imports with retaliatory tariffs.

"We agreed that it would be useful to continue talking today, so we're back for more negotiations", Freeland told reporters as she entered USTR offices in Washington.

What's at stake is huge for both the USA and Canada.

One of the issues for Canada in the revised deal is the USA effort to dump the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism that hinders the United States from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. "No NAFTA deal is better than a bad NAFTA deal". In April 2017, Trump almost withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered by the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada had been cut off by the Class 7 pricing scheme.

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