Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, walks to a car during a break in trade talk negotiations from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

No deal yet as NAFTA renegotiation talks turn bitter at critical stage

Freeland, Lighthizer reconvene in Washington as NAFTA talks reach critical stage

The U.S. Trade Representative says Canada has made no concessions to the United States on the thorny issue of dairy access as talks grind on towards today’s deadline to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a written statement, the USTR says the talks with Canada continue but “there have been no concessions by Canada on agriculture.”

Similarly, Canadian officials tell The Canadian Press today that expectations that a NAFTA deal is imminent are exaggerated and premature.

The sobering assessment comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back at the NAFTA table in Washington this morning with today’s deadline looming over the talks to bring Canada back into the North American free-trade fold.

Freeland has been in meetings all week with her American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They met late into the evening Thursday in search of a compromise in time for the deadline imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We’ve all had a night to reflect, and I’m looking forward to hearing what Ambassador Lighthizer has to say this morning,” she said before heading into her latest meeting.

Related: Canada, U.S. see common ground on autos as three-way NAFTA talks resume

Related: Canada resumes NAFTA talks as Trump’s Friday deadline looms

Related: Tough NAFTA talks ahead for Canada’s Freeland

This week’s new round of U.S.-Canada negotiations had generated hopeful signals from both camps that a deal could be struck by the end of the week — but difficult discussions about dairy and dispute settlement remain, and were holding back progress on Friday morning.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Canada’s dairy industry and has used the threat of tariffs on Canada’s auto production to push for concessions. But Canada’s dairy industry is adamant that it won’t stand for the government allowing the U.S. any more market access, saying it has compromised enough on past trade deals with the European Union and Pacific Rim countries.

Another lingering sticking point is Chapter 19, set up to resolve disputes among the three countries and industry around how to implement NAFTA rules. The U.S. wants it out of the deal, but Canada says it must be included.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a conference call Thursday with premiers to discuss trade-offs, and in a statement said the federal government was committed to winning the best possible terms for Canada.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Port McNeill council tackles the issue of AirBnBs

Council wants a public hearing to identify options for short-term rentals in Port McNeill.

Port McNeill council roundup: Feb. 11 meeting

Various stories from Port McNeill council’s Feb. 11 meeting.

Forestry workers vote for new agreement, ending 8-month strike on Vancouver Island

Wage increases, higher premiums and contract language part of new agreement

REVIEW: Poetry helps Conshinz heal from brain trauma

The Book of 1000 Poems, Volumes 1-4, by Conshinz, a.k.a. Port Alice… Continue reading

Meet the new owner of the Scarlet Ibis Pub & Restaurant

Kevin Foley is originally from Regina, Saskatchewan.

VIDEO: Ottawa wants quick, peaceful resolution to pipeline protests, Trudeau says

The protests have manifested themselves as blockades on different rail lines across the country

Canucks acquire forward Tyler Toffoli from Kings in push for playoffs

Vancouver sends Schaller, Madden, pick to L.A.

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

Wet’suwet’en and B.C. government have been talking Aboriginal title for a year

Coastal GasLink says it has agreements with all 20 elected First Nations councils along the 670-kilometre route

Trudeau tightlipped on plan to end protests ‘quickly and peacefully’

The prime minister, who cancelled a two-day trip to Barbados this week to deal with the crisis at home

B.C. budget expected to stay the course as economic growth moderates

Finance minister said ICBC costs have affected budget

Canadian standards for coronavirus protection to be reviewed, health agency says

The protocols set out how health workers should protect themselves and their patients

Monday marks one-year anniversary of man missing from Langley

42-year-old B.C. man, Searl Smith, was last seen leaving Langley Memorial Hospital on Feb. 17, 2019

BC Ferries sailings filling up Family Day Monday

More than 20 sailings added between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for long weekend

Most Read