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.

Just Posted

Castor holds family fun day at curling club

People of all ages enjoy free event

Castor, Forestburg, coal workers get $257,644 to transition to low-carbon economy

Two transition centres will serve seven communities in the Battle River Region

Castor Trap Club plans for the future

Castor town council vote in favour of extending lease 10 years

RCMP ask public’s help in finding trailer stolen from Castor Bottle Depot

Along side of trailer are words ‘Squirrel Creek’ in small yellow letters

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

The latest advent calendar trend: Holiday cannabis

A Canadian company is giving people from coast to coast a new way to celebrate the Christmas countdown.

Ponoka’s Caleb Shimwell arrested after pursuit

Police allege that Shimwell rammed a police cruiser

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Most Read