Trade trou­bles face Trudeau on trip Washi..

The Miracle - - Front Page - Source: CBC News

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau plans to talk trade, se­cu­rity and gen­der equal­ity dur­ing his four-day trip to the United States and Mex­ico that be­gins Tues­day. But there is lit­tle doubt one of those sub­jects will get more at­ten­tion than the oth­ers. Trudeau is fac­ing mul­ti­ple tradere­lated chal­lenges with both coun­tries. Talks on the North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) have slowed and soured, with the mood ex­pected to get worse, and Canada is frus­trated by the U.S. de­ci­sion to slap 300 per cent du­ties on Bom­bardier’s CSeries planes. The soft­wood lum­ber dis­pute has also not yet been set­tled. Trudeau ar­rived in the Wash­ing­ton area late Tues­day af­ter­noon. He will also take ques­tions dur­ing a key­note ad­dress at For­tune Magazine’s Most Pow­er­ful Women Sum­mit in the evening. Trudeau will shift gears early Wed­nes­day when he vis­its the con­gres­sional ways and means com­mit­tee on Capi­tol Hill — an op­por­tu­nity to share his mes­sage about the im­por­tance of Canada/U.S. trade with in­flu­en­tial law­mak­ers. On the eve of talks, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump con­tin­ued to threaten the vi­a­bil­ity of the deal, this time to Forbes. “I hap­pen to think that NAFTA will have to be ter­mi­nated if we’re go­ing to make it good. Oth­er­wise, I be­lieve you can’t ne­go­ti­ate a good deal... . [The Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship] would have been a large-scale ver­sion of NAFTA. It would have been a dis­as­ter,” he said in an ar­ti­cle pub­lished Mon­day. “I con­sider that a great ac­com­plish­ment, stop­ping that. And there are many peo­ple that agree with me. I like bi­lat­eral deals.” De­spite the pres­i­dent’s re­newed threats, Con­gress has some power to in­ter­vene. “Con­gress is po­ten­tially our shield against an ad­min­is­tra­tion which is the most pro­tec­tion­ist that we’ve seen,” said Colin Robert­son, a for­mer Cana­dian diplo­mat. Robert­son thinks it is smart for Trudeau to ramp up his so-called charm of­fen­sive with U.S. politi­cians out­side of the White House. “This is some­thing he will have to con­tinue to cul­ti­vate,” Robert­son added. But the most an­tic­i­pated mo­ment of the trip will be Trudeau’s face-to-face meet­ing with Trump. The pair have de­vel­oped a pos­i­tive rap­port, ac­cord­ing to a spokesman in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, and are look­ing to fur­ther de­velop that re­la­tion­ship. But their meet­ing takes place at the same time the fourth round of NAFTA talks be­gin, also in Wash­ing­ton. The PMO con­firmed Tues­day those talks have al­ready been ex­tended so min­is­ters from Canada, the United States and Mex­ico could all at­tend a meet­ing next Tues­day. There is lit­tle pos­i­tiv­ity left at the ne­go­ti­at­ing ta­ble, es­pe­cially as the U.S. is ex­pected to make its most con­tentious de­mands dur­ing this round of dis­cus­sions. “I think they [the talks] are go­ing poorly, they’re hav­ing dif­fi­culty even nail­ing down the low-hang­ing fruit,” said Jerry Dias, pres­i­dent of Canada’s largest pri­vate-sec­tor union, Uni­for. U.S. pro­pos­als on the rules for au­to­mo­bile con­tent, dis­pute res­o­lu­tion and the dairy in­dus­try are ex­pected to be un­veiled this week. The U.S. has al­ready been ac­cused of mak­ing de­mands that nei­ther Canada nor Mex­ico would ever agree to. The PMO spokesman said Trudeau plans to dis­cuss NAFTA, but noted that the real work is be­ing done by ne­go­tia­tors be­hind the scenes. Trudeau also plans to bring up Canada’s frus­tra­tion with the U.S. Depart­ment of Com­merce over the Bom­bardier du­ties. For­eign Min­is­ter Chrys­tia Free­land has been out­spo­ken on this is­sue, call­ing the du­ties “base­less and ab­surdly high.” Trudeau also plans to dis­cuss se­cu­rity with Trump, in­te­grated op­er­a­tions and NATO, ac­cord­ing to the spokesman. Free­land and her par­lia­men­tary sec­re­tary on Canada-U.S. re­la­tions, An­drew Les­lie, will ac­com­pany Trudeau to Wash­ing­ton. Trudeau will round out his North Amer­i­can tour with a stop in Mex­ico City. Pres­i­dent En­rique Pena Ni­eto has a full day of meet­ings planned with Trudeau and, again, trade will likely be the key point of dis­cus­sion; so much so that In­ter­na­tional Trade Min­is­ter Fran­cois-Philippe Cham­pagne will join Trudeau and Free­land for this leg of the trip. Canada and Mex­ico hold wildly dif­fer­ent po­si­tions on sev­eral as­pects of NAFTA, most no­tably labour stan­dards. But the prime min­is­ter’s spokesman says other is­sues will come up, in­clud­ing gen­der equal­ity. Trudeau is also ex­pected to take some time to visit some of the re­gions hard hit by two earth­quakes that struck this past sum­mer.

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