Protecting Canadian culture a surprise sticking point at NAFTA talks


In between reminding Canadians that he is planning to impose a 25 per cent tariff on Canadian automotive exports, Trump took time out to tell Bloomberg News he would make no concessions to Canada in bilateral NAFTA talks, which are set to resume this week.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is to resume talks with USA trade czar Robert Lighthizer, whom she has praised as a "good faith" negotiator in the face of President Donald Trump's Twitter barrages.

She said she hoped for "constructive conversations" Wednesday.

Officials for both sides are scheduled to meet in Washington on Wednesday in a bid to settle some major differences.

President Trump on Wednesday said the "intense" negotiations over a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) should result in Canada treating the USA fairly on trade.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies calling Sessions "mentally retarded, ' "dumb Southerner" Pressley blasts Trump as 'racist, misogynistic, truly empathy-bankrupt" Capuano falls to Democratic challenger Pressley in Mass. primary MORE and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have each staked out their positions, raising the temperature of the negotiations, which restarted last week after a five-week break.

Levy of the Chicago Council says there are already signs that Mexico and Canada are taking steps to diversify their trade and broader economic relations beyond a less-predictable US. "But one of the things that we know is that once you've gone and divided citizens into small groups ... it actually hurts you capacity to govern for the good of all", said Trudeau.

Trump lashed out at Canada after talks last week failed to yield a final deal.

Speaking in July as G7 chair at the closing press conference of the Charlevoix Summit, Trudeau responded to a question about bilateral relations with the US fulsomely: Canada was not going to be pushed around by Washington.

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Canada and the U.S. need to present a text to the U.S. Congress by October 1 in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico last week.

"We have also been negotiating with Canada throughout this year-long process".

In addition, news is awaited from US-Canada talks on a revamped NAFTA while financial turmoil in Argentina and Turkey remains a worry, as do figures released Thursday showing an unexpected fall in German industrial orders in July.

"Yes, Mr. Trump is going to say the worst things possible about Canada - even yesterday, he announced that the rest of the world is profiting from the United States - but that's rhetoric and we should not be too anxious about it", said Leblond.

Even the 25 per cent auto tariffs threatened by Trump (for reasons of national security) are just as likely to go ahead with a new NAFTA deal as without it, just as the US national security steel and aluminium tariffs occurred under NAFTA.

Trump is threatening to move ahead on a deal with Mexico that excludes Canada. But Canada's dairy industry - backed by Quebec politicians of all stripes - is adamant that it won't stand for the government allowing the USA any more market access, saying it has compromised enough on past trade deals with the European Union and Pacific Rim countries.

Campbell, who served in Brian Mulroney's cabinet and later became Canada's first female prime minister for six months in 1993 after Mulroney resigned, said Chapter 19 dispute resolution was "important" in the first 15 years of the agreement, but hasn't been used as frequently in the past decade.

US negotiators want to kill Chapter 19 and tabled a proposal last October to remove it from a modernized agreement. The president has also publicly threatened Canada with more tariffs on vehicle imports if it does not join in.

He also said existing protections that ban USA media firms from buying Canadian cultural industries such as television stations and newspapers must be maintained.