Sunday, 18 November, 2018

Trump can’t reach NAFTA deal without Canada: Quebec chief negotiator

Phil Scott Vermont, Quebec to sign joint declaration to strengthen ties
Rhonda Young | 17 August, 2018, 01:35

-Canadian relationship, particularly when the president tweets insults at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. "And I would hope that people would recognize and understand that renewing the current agreement among these three players will make them all better among themselves but also make them a much more significant and important player in global trade discussions".

At one point, Scott - who is running for re-election in November - leaned over and affectionately put his arm on Couillard and hugged him briefly after the Quebec premier said he didn't think the USA could ever behave that way toward "friends, neighbours and allies".

"If we don't take advantage of this window of opportunity, it will close towards the end of the month, and the push would lose force and we'd need to look at another calendar" for getting a deal, Kalach said.

The president's comments highlight the goodwill the United States and Mexico have enjoyed since Obrador was elected in July.

The U.S. -imposed tariffs on Canadian steel are already being felt in the region, officials said.

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"We've always been friends and allies and neighbours".

After a June meeting of the Group of Seven in Charlevoix, Quebec, Trump called Trudeau "dishonest" and "weak".

Couillard was joined in Stowe, Vt., by fellow premiers of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and New Brunswick.

A top Trump administration official, the US and Mexico are on the verge of striking a deal on updating NAFTA.

President Donald Trump said negotiations with Mexico on a new NAFTA are "coming along nicely", while telling Canada it will have to wait to re-enter the talks to modernize the three-nation trade pact - hinting at his preference for bilateral negotiations.

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Raymond Bachand, an ex-Quebec finance minister, said "there is no worry whatsoever" the current one-on-one talks between the USA and Mexico will end in a trade deal signed without Canada.

"If they can resolve their differences on that, then I think we can move ahead and have the three of us talk about some of the other issues that affect all of us", MacNaughton said.

Bilateral NAFTA negotiations between the two countries have been building momentum in recent weeks, while Canada has yet to return to the table this summer.

Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, said Trump doesn't want to withdraw from NAFTA but "prefers bilateral negotiations" and wants to try a different approach.

The nations are pushing for a deal by the end of this month in order to allow sufficient time for President Trump and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto, to sign the pact before President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office December 1.

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While a quick, three-way NAFTA deal still is possible if all nations show flexibility, Canada still opposes US proposals for a sunset clause on the agreement and wants an independent dispute-resolution process, he said. "They don't have that (fast-track) authority for a bilateral deal".

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