Is Trump's rewrite of NAFTA hurting a partnership?

Donald Trump

President Donald Trump participates in an agricultural roundtable with members of Congress and state in April 2018. Official White House

Faced with an unpredictable USA president ready to strike on Twitter, Trudeau said the dispute resolution mechanism in Chapter 19 ensures trade rules are followed.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland wrapped up two hours of talks Thursday with her USA counterpart in what has become a painstaking march for a deal on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

But despite the public optimism, negotiators face a tough task ahead. Canada also wants to maintain exemptions for cultural sector, with Trudeau saying on Tuesday that the exemption "must stand" because, for instance, he wouldn't want to see Canadian TV networks swallowed up.

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

Canada and the U.S. need to present an agreed-upon text to the U.S. Congress by October 1 in order to join the deal the Trump administration has signed with Mexico.

"The deal is a much more fair deal between the United States and Mexico", Trump said. USA senators Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson quickly warned that the agreement needs to better protect the state's agricultural industry, and state Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam said Trump's newly negotiated agreement "wasn't quite the deal we hoped it would be" in Florida.

Commercial trucks exit the highway for the Bridge to Canada, in Detroit, Michigan U.S. August 30, 2018. "The United States is exploring avenues to address these concerns", Lighthizer wrote.

He called NAFTA "a very stupid deal".

Congress must approve any rewrite of the deal and could refuse to endorse an agreement that excludes Canada.

On Thursday afternoon, Freeland described the atmosphere as "constructive" and "positive".

"Yes, Mr. Trump is going to say the worst things possible about Canada - even yesterday, he announced that the rest of the world is profiting from the United States - but that's rhetoric and we should not be too anxious about it", said Leblond. "You can't fix NAFTA without fixing issues with Canada", said Senator Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees trade.

Lawrence Herman, an global trade counsel, said it prevents US takeovers, restricts USA ownership and ensures Canadian artists - such as authors, actors and musicians - get certain preferences.

Perhaps more than anything else, it is Trump's stated willingness to conclude a bilateral deal with Mexico that leaves Canada out that alarms supporters of the North American partnership.

This week's new round of U.S.

Canadian and USA negotiators could not reach a deal to meet Trump's deadline last Friday.

Trudeau said Canadians will not sign onto a deal that does not include a dispute resolution mechanism and exemptions for cultural industries - two positions that were among the pillars of the original 1988 Canada-U.S. free trade deal.

"We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed. And we know we have a president who doesn't always follow the rules as they are laid out".

Foreign companies seeking relief through Canada's Federal Court of Appeal are often repeatedly coming up empty handed, said Todgham Cherniak, a former federal tax court adviser.

That perspective may even be holding tight in Canada, which for the moment is Trump's chief target in his bid to fundamentally redo NAFTA. "That would not be good for Canada, it would not be good for our identity, it would not be good for our sovereignty".

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