Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, left, walks to a car during a break in trade talk negotiations from the Office of the United States Trade Representative, Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

No deal yet as NAFTA renegotiation talks turn bitter at critical stage

Freeland, Lighthizer reconvene in Washington as NAFTA talks reach critical stage

The U.S. Trade Representative says Canada has made no concessions to the United States on the thorny issue of dairy access as talks grind on towards today’s deadline to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

In a written statement, the USTR says the talks with Canada continue but “there have been no concessions by Canada on agriculture.”

Similarly, Canadian officials tell The Canadian Press today that expectations that a NAFTA deal is imminent are exaggerated and premature.

The sobering assessment comes as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is back at the NAFTA table in Washington this morning with today’s deadline looming over the talks to bring Canada back into the North American free-trade fold.

Freeland has been in meetings all week with her American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. They met late into the evening Thursday in search of a compromise in time for the deadline imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump.

“We’ve all had a night to reflect, and I’m looking forward to hearing what Ambassador Lighthizer has to say this morning,” she said before heading into her latest meeting.

Related: Canada, U.S. see common ground on autos as three-way NAFTA talks resume

Related: Canada resumes NAFTA talks as Trump’s Friday deadline looms

Related: Tough NAFTA talks ahead for Canada’s Freeland

This week’s new round of U.S.-Canada negotiations had generated hopeful signals from both camps that a deal could be struck by the end of the week — but difficult discussions about dairy and dispute settlement remain, and were holding back progress on Friday morning.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Canada’s dairy industry and has used the threat of tariffs on Canada’s auto production to push for concessions. But Canada’s dairy industry is adamant that it won’t stand for the government allowing the U.S. any more market access, saying it has compromised enough on past trade deals with the European Union and Pacific Rim countries.

Another lingering sticking point is Chapter 19, set up to resolve disputes among the three countries and industry around how to implement NAFTA rules. The U.S. wants it out of the deal, but Canada says it must be included.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau held a conference call Thursday with premiers to discuss trade-offs, and in a statement said the federal government was committed to winning the best possible terms for Canada.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Harrison Hot Springs Resort reopens

Reopening both celebrated and sombre as Harrison opens up again

FVRD flooding evacuation alerts in effect

Unprotected areas affected include parts of Morris Valley Road and Lougheed Highway

Extra care required from Chilliwack drivers as students return to school

RCMP are enforcing speed limits in school zones and urging motorists to be extra cautious

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Two more COVID-19 cases reported by Langley long term care facility

One resident, one staffer have tested positive for the coronavirus

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Most Read