The Vice-President of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute says participants in a discussion aimed at modernising the North American Free Trade Agreement have become highly invested in successfully concluding the negotiations
Negotiations aimed at rewriting NAFTA continued last week and are expected to resume again in about a week.
Colin Robertson, the Vice President and a fellow of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, says we’ve seen, for the first time in 25 years, a gathering together of support in the United States saying let’s keep NAFTA. Polling will tell you that most Americans favour free trade with Canada and Mexico and see it working in their interests.
Colin Robertson discusses the recent round of negotiations:
“We’ve just concluded a marathon session of ministerial meetings in Washington, and the main subject of discussion was rules of origin surrounding the most traded commodities in question.
“We’ve closed the chapters on some significant subjects such as sanitation, phyto-sanitation and environment, and we’re close to closing the chapters on content rules on barriers to trade on important commodities.
“Donald Trump ran saying that NAFTA was the worst deal ever and threatened to tear it up on day one, but now, on day 100, I think there’s an appreciation within the administration that NAFTA would serve their interests and I think the administration has invested a significant amount effort into these negotiations.
“We’ve had eight formal rounds and effectively a ninth round and I think there’s a sense on the administration’s part that, if they can get a deal, it would serve their political interests, their political constituencies, particularly farmers and auto workers so I think they would like to now have a deal but it has to be under their terms.
“From a Canadian perspective, there’s broad agreement across Canada that NAFTA has worked for Canada and that we would like to continue it.
“This is shared across party lines and all premiers have been involved in pushing their counterpart governors and members of the legislature at the state level to underline how important the agreement is to their interests.
“Farm groups have also been involved in this; business groups; labour unions have also been making the case from the Canadian side to their American counterparts.
“There’s been a similar exercise conducted by the Mexican government and that is having some effect.
“We’ve seen for the first time in 25 years a gathering of support in the US, saying let’s keep NAFTA – they do think that having a trading relationship with Canada and Mexico does make some sense.”
As reported by Bruce Cochrane, Farmscape.Ca