NAFTA negotiations continue with little (public) progress reported

NAFTA Talks To Resume This Week

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .

Canada's envoy - Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland - left a meeting with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer Tuesday night.

Trudeau and his ministers will hold a caucus retreat in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to plot their strategy.

Canada must end its low-price milk proteins policy to reach a US-Canadian deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said.

USA and Canadian trade representatives are set to meet this week to advance NAFTA negotiations between the two countries.

"Our baseline is that Canada will join the U.S. -Mexico agreement, making concessions on dairy, but that it likely will have to make some concession on dispute resolution as well".

"We've taken those hits for team Canada, and we are determined that there be no further concessions on dairy", said David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada.

"We sent them (the officials) a number of issues to work on and they will report back to us in the morning, and we will then continue our negotiations", Freeland told reporters on leaving the U.S. Trade Representative's office in Washington on Wednesday. "There are nearly two dozen chapters closed" in the NAFTA deal including reducing red tape on cross-border trade, he said on Monday.

The politically thorny issue remains an obstacle in NAFTA negotiations as discussions drag on without an agreement after 13 months of talks, started at Trump's behest.

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Data released on Wednesday showed the USA trade deficit hit a five-month high of $50 billion.

"It can't be renamed something or called something else", Perdue said when asked about dairy concessions needed to reach a NAFTA deal, referring to a new milk class created past year by Canada to price milk ingredients such as protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder.

Talks are expected to resume after Lighthizer travels to Brussels for trade talks with European Union trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom on Monday.

The two sides have so far been unable to break an impasse over US access to the Canadian dairy market, a cultural exemption for Canada and the Chapter 19 dispute resolution mechanism. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1.

"At the end of the day, we're neighbors", Freeland said.

"I think this is a complicated time for employees".

U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft, a fixture at the NAFTA talks last week, was in Gander, N.L., to commemorate the role that town played on the day 17 years ago when the United States shut down its airspace, forcing countless passenger airliners to find refuge wherever they could. President Donald Trump, in a story that appeared in Automotive News Canada, said Friday that while "I don't want to do anything bad to Canada. We're just going to stay working constructively to get to that win, win, win that we know is there", he said in the interview.

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