Editorial Exchange: NAFTA Talks Require Genuine U.S. Interest

The Canadian Press, September 27, 2017 | Go to article overview

Editorial Exchange: NAFTA Talks Require Genuine U.S. Interest


Editorial Exchange: NAFTA talks require genuine U.S. interest

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published Sept. 26:

For all its supposed eagerness to rewrite the trade rules, the Trump administration is taking a long time to produce detailed proposals in trade treaty negotiations with Mexico and Canada. U.S. President Donald Trump himself used to say he wanted to conclude an agreement before the end of this year on changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), but the members of his negotiating team are acting as if they have all the time in the world.

Steve Verheul, chief negotiator for Canada in the three-way NAFTA talks, told journalists last weekend that solid progress had been made and the pace of the talks has been very fast, which is no doubt the way it feels at the bargaining table. But in fact, the U.S. has yet to say how much U.S. content it wants to see in automobiles and parts moving across borders within the free-trade zone. The administration says it cares deeply about this issue, but you wouldn't know that from its reticence in offering a specific plan.

Ending Canada's supply-management system for dairy products is supposedly another top U.S. priority. That should be a pretty easy topic, since Canada has already conceded, in its new trade treaty with the European Union, that the current tight dairy-production controls and import barriers are negotiable. Yet there is no sign of a specific proposal on the subject from the U.S.

It seems more and more as though the Trump administration launched into this trade-treaty renegotiation without thinking carefully about what it was getting into. It is now nearly inconceivable that an agreement can be reached within the next three months. …

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