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Montevideo, November 20th 2017 - 19:24 UTC

NAFTA: Trudeau predicts “tough days ahead” ahead for negotiators

Wednesday, September 27th 2017 - 06:18 UTC
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Canadian PM Justin Trudeau predicted some tough days ahead for negotiators and declined to say whether he thought the talks could meet the deadline. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau predicted some tough days ahead for negotiators and declined to say whether he thought the talks could meet the deadline.
“We’ve been working very hard so I don’t see a problem,” US top negotiator John Melle said. “We’re moving across the board, so it’s very ambitious.” “We’ve been working very hard so I don’t see a problem,” US top negotiator John Melle said. “We’re moving across the board, so it’s very ambitious.”
U.S. President Donald Trump, who frequently describes the treaty as a disaster, is threatening to walk away unless major changes are made. U.S. President Donald Trump, who frequently describes the treaty as a disaster, is threatening to walk away unless major changes are made.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the three sides had made “solid progress” on topics such as electronic border forms and regulations harmonization  Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the three sides had made “solid progress” on topics such as electronic border forms and regulations harmonization

The top U.S. negotiator at talks to modernize the NAFTA trade pact dismissed questions about why his team had so far failed to produce specific proposals on key issues, saying “I don’t see a problem.” Officials from the United States, Mexico and Canada are in Ottawa for the third of seven planned rounds of talks.

 The U.S. delegation has yet to unveil its precise position on several points, prompting concerns the process to update the 1994 pact could drag on beyond the scheduled end-December finish.

“We’ve been working very hard so I don’t see a problem,” John Melle told reporters when pressed on the matter. “We’re moving across the board, so it’s very ambitious.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier predicted some tough days ahead for negotiators and declined to say whether he thought the talks could meet the deadline.

“The negotiations are still under way and of course there will be more difficult discussions in some cases than others,” he told a Toronto news conference. He added: “The negotiations move forward at a certain pace and we respect that reality.”

U.S. President Donald Trump, who frequently describes the treaty as a disaster, is threatening to walk away unless major changes are made.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters that the three sides had made “solid progress” on topics such as electronic border forms and harmonization of regulations.

Pressed on the chances of finishing by the end of the year, she repeated earlier statements that “we want a good deal, not any deal”. Trade talks traditionally leave the toughest topics until the end, she added.

Canadian officials say it is still possible to meet the year-end deadline although they concede there are significant uncertainties about the timetable.

At his Toronto event, Trudeau repeated a promise to defend Canada’s system of tariffs and import restrictions designed to defend its dairy sector. The U.S. industry dislikes the measures.

Categories: Economy, Politics, International.

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