Canada appears to be on the brink of losing a NAFTA deal with time running out. As Reuters reports, President Donald Trump’s trade representative says Canada is simply not ready to compromise on some key issues.
”The fact is, Canada is not making concessions in areas where we think they’re essential,” Lighthizer said at the Concordia Summit Tuesday.
Trump has set a deadline of Sept. 30 to complete the talks with Canada but, according to Reuters, that is looking increasingly unlikely given that there is “some distance” between the trading partners. Canada remains obdurate on protecting its dairy industry, a policy Trudeau had hinted he was willing to relinquish.
“We’re going to go ahead with Mexico,” Lighthizer told the summit. “If Canada comes along now, that would be the best. If Canada comes along later, then that’s what will happen.”
But then he cautioned: “We’re sort of running out of time.”
Neither Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau nor his foreign affairs minister, Chrystia Freeland, appear to be any rush to offer solutions to break the deadlock. Trudeau is in New York this week trying to regain a seat on the U.N. Security Council.
Canada may be banking on its belief that Trump cannot turn NAFTA into a bilateral trade deal with Mexico without Congressional approval.
The Opposition Conservatives remain restrained in their criticism of how Trudeau is managing the trade crisis, insisting they can best represent the national interest by working with the Liberal government towards achieving a deal.
Conservative Foreign Affairs Critic Erin O’Toole told The Daily Caller Wednesday that they are prepared to help in this “last minute scramble.”
“The Conservatives want to see the best possible NAFTA deal alongside the elimination of steel and aluminum tariffs, so we will do what we can to support those objectives. We have not always agreed with the Liberal strategy on NAFTA and believe it has led to this last-minute scramble, but we have tried to fulfill our parliamentary role while minimizing domestic politics,” said the Ontario Member of Parliament.