Ottawa and Washington continue trade talks, despite missed deadline

World Today

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks at Canadian Embassy on August 31, 2018 after trade talks broke down.

The United States and Canada failed to reach a deal before Friday’s deadline on the North American Free Trade Agreement… but the two sides did agree to continue talks next week.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

Just as the U.S. stock markets closed, President Donald Trump delivered the news to Capitol Hill. He’s going forward with the U.S. Mexico trade framework, without Canada, for now.

After rushing to Washington on Tuesday to represent Ottawa at the trade talks, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland ended Friday saying there was progress but not enough. 

“The government will not sign this unless it’s good for Canada and it’s good for Canadians,” Freeland said at a hastily-called press conference at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Canada is still seeking a way to address trade grievances with Washington, within the NAFTA framework.  According to a spokesperson for the U.S. trade representative, Ottawa has not given any ground on agriculture.

“They’ve taken advantage of our country for many years. They have tremendous trade barriers, and they have tremendous tariffs. Dairy products are almost 300 percent tariff,” U.S. President Donald Trump said at an event in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Trump has now acknowledged he told Bloomberg News off the record he would give no concessions to Ottawa. 

Remarks then leaked to the Toronto Star  —  said: “… it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal…”

“For him to say that we’re going to have to basically, it’s an all or leave it proposition, then I suggest it makes it easier for the Canadian team to walk away. Nobody wants to do that, but nobody’s going to get bullied into a bad deal,” Jerry Dias, President of UNIFOR, which represents Canadian auto workers said.

Freeland was also asked if she raised the U.S. president’s remarks with her American counterparts. She simply moved on to the next question. She says she will be back in Washington on Wednesday to resume talks. 

“For Canada, the focus is good deal for Canada, and once we have one, we will be done,” she said.

Aurel Braun talks about the obstacles to a new US-Canada trade agreement

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Aurel Braun about the obstacles to a new US-Canada trade agreement.