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Nafta Talks Can Generate Triple Win, Canada's Freeland Says

05 February 2018

In a broadside at her American negotiating partners two days after concluding the latest round of talks, Ms. Freeland accused Washington of taking an unrealistic "zero-sum" view of trade, said the U.S.is "never going to win" the race to bring back low-skilled jobs - a core tenet of President Donald Trump's economic strategy - and slammed politicians who use economic anxiety "as a political resource" to attack immigrants and trade deals.

The U.S. rejected this approach, arguing it would not do enough to force auto makers to use more vehicle parts manufactured on the continent. We believe that the regulatory reform the administration is providing as well as some of the tax code changes are indeed beneficial to our member companies and to American manufacturing. This approach is urged by most of the US business community and, increasingly, leaders in Congress and state governments, as a result of a tremendous effort in recent months to educate farmers, policy makers and consumers about the importance of NAFTA. Since 2009, I think, about [$87 billion] has been invested in North America, in the automotive industry. "We realize that we could achieve much more by being constructive and by approaching the relationship looking for common ground. with very active cooperation". In addition, the letter writers said: "Generic competition has often proven the most effective means of reducing prices and ensuring prices continue to fall over time". There aren't a lot of details attached to what they put on the table.

Negotiators from the three countries have been meeting since August in hopes of rewriting the 24-year accord, which the president has repeatedly assailed as unfair to his working-class base. In this longer run, we estimate that U.S. GDP would remain depressed by over 0.2 percent, permanently. There will be a round at the end of February. Hopefully, between now and then, the three countries can get a better understanding of where they are each coming from on this rule-of-origin issue. Ambassador Lighthizer, however, later indicated that the USA was unlikely to support the counter-proposal as is, contending that the Canadian proposal would actually lessen the amount of NAFTA content.

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"The question is, what else is (Foreign Minister Luis) Videgaray giving to Trump and his collaborators in exchange for preserving NAFTA?"

We've called for inclusion of both a currency provision and strong standards language in the NAFTA. "So if Canada wanted to cut oil exports to the U.S.by 20 per cent it would have to cut domestic supplies by 20 per cent as well, except in specific circumstances such as the need to protect national security". What progress is being made? "The Financial Post explains, "[Article 605] means Canada and the USA can not reduce access to each other's oil, natural gas, coal, electricity or refined petroleum products without an equivalent reduction in domestic access to the same product. It is a very challenging market. "So this is the opposite of what we are trying to do". In the same year, major US railroads transported roughly 13 million autos and 41.5 million tons of basic steel products to auto parts suppliers and other customers. And if you do that, and you address currency manipulation, we think you'd be making big steps toward opening the Korean marketplace to American products.

Nafta Talks Can Generate Triple Win, Canada's Freeland Says