The preliminary agreement between the United States and Mexico to replace the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), did not include the third country in the talks. However, in an attempt to keep Canada in the trade bloc, the Trump administration officials and Canadian negotiators are resuming talks.
On Thursday, the US and Canadian negotiators made headway in oppressive talks to rescue the NAFTA. However, there stood certain stubborn issues in the way of the deal– how to resolve future trade disputes, protection for Canadian media companies and dairy quotas.
A source aware of the discussion in Washington said, that there was no clarity on the questions whether the two countries could fill in the gaps, or whether the US President Donald Trump will seal a bilateral trade deal with Mexico.
“We’re down to three issues: Chapter 19, the cultural issues and dairy. We’ve created leverage and driven Canada to the table,” the source said. “Part of our problem is that Canada has been backsliding on its commitments (on dairy).”
The Chapter 10 of NAFTA governs how disputes are resolved.
While the issues remain, a deadline for a deal this week has been set by Trump. He has suggested aids to the US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, to work well on Thursday evening and find ways to proceed.
Following a short meeting with Lighthizer at the USTR offices on Thursday evening, Freeland stated to reporters, “We are making good progress.” She also added that the discussions of the day were “constructive and productive” amid an atmosphere of “goodwill on both sides.”
Declining a discussion over any specific issues under the negotiation, Freeland informed that the talks would resume Friday.
Meanwhile, one of the Canadian government officials said that it is not likely to reach a deal this week.
While the NAFTA deal is progressing at a slow pace, it is still uncertain whether the final issues will resolve between the US and Canada. Will this trilateral trade bloc in the North America end as planned, or the threats by the US President of pushing ahead a bilateral deal with Mexico come to be true?