By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – A renegotiated free trade deal between Canada, Mexico and the U.S. has made limited progress because the talks are moving along too quickly, Canada’s chief negotiator said Tuesday.
“A bit too fast” to make progress was how Steve Verheul put it as the seventh round of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) renegotiations is set to get underway in Mexico City later this month.
And while Verheul said Canada would continue to stay at the table in a bid to get a new deal, it is hard to say what U.S. President Donald Trump will do next, including the possibility of killing the agreement.
Trump has insisted that NAFTA, signed by the three countries and put into effect in 1994, is a bad deal for the U.S. He wants the agreement to include a ‘Buy American’ clause, which Verheul said was quite likely the worst proposal put forward for a free trade agreement. He added that the clause has likely tied the hands of U.S. negotiators.
The Buy American proposal limits the contracts Canadian and Mexican firms can bid on in the U.S. Both Canada and Mexico have balked at the clause.
In addition, Buy American would greatly inflate the amount of American-made parts for North American autos and would give the U.S. full access to Canada’s protected dairy industry.
Earlier this week, Trump said trade deals are structured so that other countries can “rob us blind” and he mentioned NAFTA partners Canada and Mexico.
In a speech at the Ronald Reagan presidential library where he is trying to muster support for a renegotiated NAFTA, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “if trade between Canada and the U.S. is a bad idea, then there are no good ideas.”