Canada trade deal 'eminently possible,' Freeland says

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will return to Washington on Tuesday to resume negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

US President Donald Trump also said the talks, which both countries intensified in recent weeks, were coming along well.

Freeland will spend Tuesday in the USA capital before she heads to Saskatoon to attend Liberal caucus meetings that begin later in the day and run through Thursday.

"I think that remembering today, and what happened today, maybe that helps us all to put into perspective the negotiations that we're having", Freeland told reporters, noting the "importance and significance" of US-Canadian ties.

After a year of effort, Washington and Mexico City announced an agreement in late August and Trump's administration has informed Congress it plans to sign a new treaty by November 30, including Canada if possible.

But challenges remain. The United States wants to eliminate Chapter 19, a dispute-resolution mechanism that has hindered it from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. While Reuters reported on Tuesday that Canada is prepared to make concessions on the issue, it is likely to face opposition among supporters of Trudeau's Liberal Party in Ontario and Quebec.

Dairy trade is one of the final sticking points as part of the NAFTA talks between the USA and Canada.

"In some countries, including Canada, a tax on cars would be the ruination of the country". And he has framed NAFTA as a disaster and an agreement that has brought "the US ... decades of abuse" at the hands of Canada.

No long-range missiles, N.Korea military parade features floats and flowers
Before this year, the "blood-forged" alliance between Korean War allies China and North Korea had been looking shaky. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong appeared in public for the first time in three months.

She and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had agreed to review progress early on Thursday. "It appears as if there is not a whole lot of momentum right now".

Although issues related to autos, such as the USA push to boost North American content in vehicles, have been a major part of the negotiations, other issues, particularly a desire for more US access to Canada's dairy market and Canadian insistence on maintaining NAFTA's dispute resolution system, are believed to be some of the major remaining sticking points.

Trudeau, who over the a year ago has faced increasing criticism for backtracking on promises, ordering endless consultations on major topics and failing to fulfill many of his campaign promises, had taken a tougher stance against the United States in recent weeks.

New chapters governing the digital economy and stronger intellectual property, labor and environmental standards could also work to the benefit of US companies, possibly helping Trump to fulfill his campaign promise of creating more American jobs.

Trump has notified Congress he intends to sign the trade deal reached last week with Mexico by the end of November, and officials said the text would be published by around October 1.

"These are complicated subjects and there's still some distance" separating the two sides, said one source close to the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe pending negotiations. However, he said, Mr. Lighthizer is far more eager to dismantle this dispute-settlement provision.

"This isn't like some of the other NAFTA rounds where people were introducing poison pills for political reasons or otherwise", he said. "But right now the USA position is to squeeze every last drop in concessions".

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