Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 6, 2018
NAFTA talks resume as questions grow about Trump’s ability to deliver
Canada returns to the NAFTA table in Washington Wednesday after a four-day break in negotiations that appeared to be pretty stressful … for the American side.
The Trump administration’s failure to secure a deal before last Friday wasn’t well-received by key voices in Congress, where NAFTA’s fate ultimately will be decided.
By the end of the weekend, the White House seemed to have fallen out with an ally it had hoped would back a revised NAFTA: a union representing millions of working-class Americans, now souring on President Donald Trump’s ability to deliver.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Wednesday that officials continued their work over the weekend after negotiations broke off Friday.
“We are looking forward to constructive conversations today,” she said before heading to the offices of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Fresh signs of perceived weakness in Washington may bolster Canada’s determination to reject a bad deal, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed publicly to do. Trudeau’s team spent the weekend talking to stakeholders and advisers to prepare for this week.
The tone Freeland set early in her public statements during the negotiations — a no-drama approach of working “intensely” and “constructively” and praising the “goodwill” of counterparts — seems to be holding firm.
Work continues to finalize the text before the next Congressional deadline at the end of the month. If all three parties remain serious about a signing ceremony before Mexico’s government changes hands Dec.1, the negotiated text is due by Sept. 30. (Source: CBC)