Canada: NAFTA's Proposed Changes 'Troubling'

Spotlight: NAFTA parties to extend trade talks into Q1 2018 with

Wrapping up the fourth round of talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement, the US proposed a dismantling of Canada's dairy supply management system.

US senators, including Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, pushed for a strong commitment to avoid currency manipulation in the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade deal that President Donald Trump withdrew from before lawmakers approved it. "We must ensure that decisions we make today do not come back to haunt us tomorrow", said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.

Trump again decried "massive trade deficits" with trading partners on October 17 when speaking at the White House.

After four rounds of talks squeezed into a two-month period, negotiators will now allow a month-long cooling-off period before returning to the bargaining table in Mexico on November 17. Negotiators extended discussions into next year amid an impasse over USA proposals that Mexico and Canada see as hardline.

For his part, Lighthizer identified both Canada and Mexico's "resistance to change" that manifested itself in a desire for "one-sided benefits". The U.S. dairy industry has urged Lighthizer to raise the issue of Canadian dairy policies that keep out U.S. products.

"We must understand that we all have limits despite over current differences". At stake is the $1.2 trillion in annual trade between the three countries, as well as the business models of companies such as Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. that have adapted their supply chains to take advantage of the trade zone.

Drone collides with passenger plane above Quebec City airport
Circumventing these restrictions can result in a fine up to C$25,000 (£15,000 / US$20,000) and even a prison sentence. Reports of drones endangering aircraft have been increasing as the unmanned aerial vehicles become more commonplace.

"We have seen no indications that our partners are willing to make any changes that will result in a rebalancing and a reduction in these huge trade deficits", he said.

Since 2005, the three countries have also made strides on economic and security co-operation, through the North American Leaders Summit - sometimes called the Three Amigos - which began under former president George W. Bush, the report says.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the United States faces a large trade deficit, and blamed NAFTA for the loss of manufacturing jobs.

"In rounds three and four, we have seen proposals that turn back the clock on 23 years of predictability, openness and collaboration under NAFTA", CBC reported Freeland as saying.

Toronto-Dominion Bank - Canada's biggest bank by assets, with a significant US presence - has stress-tested its credit portfolio for the possibility of a NAFTA collapse, CEO Bharat Masrani said, though he said it's too early to draw conclusions. Freeland slammed Vice President Mike Pence's "win-win-win" NAFTA strategy, which, she said, would degrade not upgrade the trade deal. USA grain and meat producers have also said they fear that the produce seasonality proposal could endanger US exports to Mexico, and the United Fresh Produce Association has said it does not support the seasonality proposal even though its Florida members and some others want the situation addressed. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has said the U.S. bargaining position encourages other countries to strike trade bargains that bypass the United States and threatens to reduce U.S. access to export crucial markets.

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