Canadians under pressure to sign new free trade pact

President Donald Trump said Monday the USA and Mexico had reached a bilateral trade "understanding" that could lead to an overhaul - or maybe the demise - of the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement. Even if more plants are built in Mexico, jobs will grow in the United States due to high levels of integration, with studies showing that U.S. parts make up 40 per cent of the value of every Mexican-built auto exported to the United States.

Just a day after talks with a Mexican delegation in the White House that led to a trade deal, Trump insisted to reporters that the country will pay for his campaign promise border wall at the Mexico-United States border.

The United States and Mexico finalized a trade agreement this week - a "positive development" for Canada, according to the Canadian American Business Council.

The two sides will resume their talks with a face-to-face between Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as they seek a breakthrough.

"It's much better for Canada than earlier in the negotiations when they were saying that there had to be a certain amount of American content". "I've directly conveyed that concern to minister Freeland on a number of occasions".

Serious differences remain on other issues, including the dairy sector, how to settle disputes and a US proposal for a sunset clause. While nothing can be taken for granted with Trump, they provided some insight into US administration's thinking moving forward.

"It's time for our countries to resolve these issues and lock in an updated track agreement", said Steve Nelson, the group's president.

"Remember the visit from Prime Minister Trudeau to Washington, the message was, 'It's going to be very easy to solve the relationship with Canada.' The one that is complex and very hard is the relationship with Mexico", Guajardo said.

The outlines of the new NAFTA include a higher percentage of locally-produced components in autos, a percentage of vehicles that must come from high wage factories, tougher worker protections and a provision to review the 16-year deal every six years. Investors have embraced the preliminary pact as good news for Canada's auto parts industry.

"We'll start negotiating with Canada relatively soon, they want to negotiate very badly", Trump said in the Oval Office, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto joining by speaker phone.

For now, Canadian negotiators are primarily focused on bilateral talks with the Americans.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Trump administration Wednesday of setting its sights on dismantling Canada's supply management system.

Nantais said he's encouraged to see progress on NAFTA negotiations, but that it will be critical to understand the terms that have actually been agreed to so far. "And I assume that they are going to carry out negotiations on the sensitive bilateral issues between Canada and the United States". Green cited an API report from 2017 that asserted NAFTA supported 10.3 million USA natural gas and oil industry jobs, while also providing benefits to consumers, energy security and open markets. "We're not going to stand for that".

"The wall will be paid for very easily by Mexico", said Trump.

But the TPA also says the final text of the deal doesn't have to be released until 60 days before signing.

Lighthizer wants to send a letter to Congress by Friday that would formally begin a 90-day process for reworking the trade deal.

The NAFTA renegotiations had dragged on for a year before the tentative agreement with Mexico was announced Monday.

  • Zachary Reyes