Jan 21, 2018
By Amber Gero
It appears Canada may be hosting an angry group of U.S. negotiators as representatives from both countries sit down this week for the latest round of talks to renegotiate a new North American Free Trade Agreement.
The Trump administration is making known its displeasure about Canada’s contributions to date and demanding progress over the marathon 10-day session.
According to The Canadian Press, multiple sources aware of the U.S. administration’s views say the acrimony has a variety of causes, including Canada’s recent decision to file a sweeping complaint about U.S. trade practices at the World Trade Organization and its pursuit of a progressive trade agenda that includes Indigenous and labour provisions.
However, sources familiar with the Canadian position dismiss all that and say the tone at the negotiating table is professional and cordial, and that Canada is prepared to table counter-proposals in order to make progress.
They say Canadian negotiators are making constructive proposals to find common ground with the Americans on what some have called poison pills designed to kill the deal.
The Canadian government was recently said to be prepared for the U-S to pull out of the deal, but then President Donald Trump suggested he’d be willing to extend talks until after a Mexican election in July.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will return to the United States next month to pitch free trade with Canada to U.S. Democrats, a group that could be much more powerful by year’s end.
(With Files from The Canadian Press)