NAFTA negotiations with Canada to resume today |

NAFTA negotiations with Canada to resume today

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to return to Washington today to resume talks with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

There appear to be no new developments in the last few days regarding the conflict between Canada and the United States over Canadian dairy policy. But Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., told WAMC, an Albany, N.Y., public radio station, that the Trump administration should protect the U.S. dairy industry in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Canada will not sign a revised agreement without the dispute settlement mechanism and a cultural exemption that will prevent the sale of Canadian media organizations to U.S. companies.

President Donald Trump tweeted that the United States and Mexico could go it alone, but Senate Finance Committee ranking member Ron Wyden, D-Ore., joined Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, in insisting that Canada should be part of a revised NAFTA.

In a statement Tuesday, Wyden refuted Trump’s assertion that he can unilaterally withdraw from NAFTA without congressional approval.

“The president doesn’t have a deal, he doesn’t have a plan, and he doesn’t even have the power to follow through on his empty threats,” Wyden said. “The president needs to take a look at the Constitution – it gives Congress authority over trade. The president cannot pull America out of NAFTA without Congress’ permission.

“Trump is relying on bluster and bullying in a desperate attempt to get Congress to swallow his half-baked deal. You can’t fix NAFTA without fixing issues with Canada: from dairy and wine to red tape on small shipments and new digital commitments, to eliminating NAFTA’s unconstitutional review of our trade remedy laws that have benefited Canada, and more. Cutting Canada out is surrendering on these issues. Once again, after a splashy announcement, American workers are getting the shaft on the details that matter. Despite Trump’s threats, he’s made no progress with China, and the EU won’t even talk about its barriers to American agriculture. Finally, the deal with Korea in the spring doesn’t actually have any commitments on currency, despite what was promised at the time. Trump’s trade negotiations aren’t tough, they’re tissue-paper soft.”

Earlier, Hatch said, “Preserving and improving NAFTA will ensure that American families will continue to benefit from lower prices, better jobs and increased productivity, while also ensuring that the 25-year-old agreement maintains the leadership of American businesses, manufacturers, farmers and ranchers. To achieve that goal, a final agreement should include Canada. Further, to meet Trade Promotion Authority and gain Congress’ support, a modernized NAFTA must establish strong rules to protect intellectual property rights to benefit America’s innovators, artists and creators.”

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