Loosen protections on dairy sector, New York Republican says — NAFTA talks

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Canada's foreign affairs minister says Tuesday's anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States should serve as a reminder of the deep ties between the two countries as they haggle over the future of North American free trade.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said just last week that the process was needed, because Trump "doesn't always follow the rules." The governing Liberal Party is holding its caucus retreat in Saskatoon on Wednesday and Thursday and it's not known whether Ms. Freeland will pause negotiations after Tuesday to head to the caucus meeting.

The father of the North American Free Trade Agreement says the Canadian government will likely need to show some "flexibility" on dairy if a new deal is to be secured. But Larry Kudlow, the director of U.S. President Donald Trump's National Economic Council, suggested Friday that Canada isn't offering enough.

He also warned that the US and Mexico would move forward bilaterally without Canada.

The Canadian trade leaders, who said the discussions were positive, cordial and that there was good faith on both sides of the negotiating table between the long-time trading partners.

"Having said all of that, nothing is done until everything is done" - and that says it all really, but USA officials have said time is running out to agree on a text that can be signed by American, Canadian and Mexican leaders by November 30, before the current Mexican government leaves office.

Welles Orr, who was assistant USA trade representative for congressional affairs in the George H.W. Bush administration, said the prospects appear good for a deal with Canada in coming weeks, although a new NAFTA or its replacement would likely not get through Congress until next year at the soonest.

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To the south, Trump's agriculture secretary suggested deeper concessions would be coming from the Canadians over Canada's system of managing supply and prices in the dairy sector.

The two sides have so far been unable to resolve their differences over USA access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism. Freeland said she would meet with Lighthizer when negotiators found issues that needed to be elevated to the ministerial level. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1.

"I think it's something that we obviously have to be aware the president is contemplating".

"To me, a lot of that is consistent with my suspicion that the USA doesn't really want to get a deal [or] at least the [Trump] administration doesn't", he said, citing the leaked off-the-record comments Mr. Trump gave Bloomberg in late August when he said he was refusing to compromise with Canada and that any deal with Canada would be "totally on our terms".

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer takes part in a joint news conference on the closing of the seventh round of NAFTA talks in Mexico City, Mexico March 5, 2018.

"The U.S. knows what Canada's tough issues are, so they're going to hold those to the end, and squeeze out concessions on every other issue they can", said Ujczo, who is regularly briefed on the talks. "They're really hammering this out", said Orr, who is now senior worldwide trade adviser for a Washington law firm.

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