#NorthAmericanFree-TradeAgreement; #Canada, #U.S.; #Mexico; #WorldTradeOrganisation; #DonaldTrump; #ChrystiaFreeland; #JustinTrudeau; #EuropeanUnion
Ottawa, Aug 30 (Canadian-Media): A great progress had been made in North American Free-Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations this week between U.S. President Donald Trump and Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, both of whom hoped a deal could be reached by the end of the week, media reports said.
Chrystia Freeland. Image credit: Official
NAFTA, which came into force on January 1, 1994, is an agreement signed by Canada, Mexico, and the United States, creating a trilateral trade bloc in North America.
Trump had warned that he could levy tariffs on Canadian-made cars if Ottawa does not come on board and added he would proceed with a deal with Mexico alone.
Friday deadline was set by Trump for the three countries to reach an agreement to allow Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign it before he leaves office at the end of November.
Canada had offered to give American farmers more access to its protected dairy market if U.S. agreed to preserve a key dispute-settlement mechanism -- developed for Canada's first trade deal with the U.S. negotiated in the 1980s -- that hinders U.S. from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases.
Mexico had already agreed to eliminate the mechanism, said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer Monday.
By giving greater acceess to Canada’s supermarkets, Canadians could reportedly expect to pay lower prices for milk, cheese and other dairy products.
Freeland had expressed the hope that for effective resolution, only specific issues should be brought to the negotiating table.
The three NAFTA partners could reportedly commit to dispute settlement through World Trade Organisation (WTO) reform.
The U.S. already agreed to that with the European Union
Despite U.S. pressure to reach an agreement this week, Trudeau had warned that Canada would not be pushed into accepting a bad one.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#JustinTrudea; #DonaldTrump; #Google; #journalists
Ottawa, Aug 29 (Canadian-Media): When U.S. President Donald Trump on Wedenesday attacked the journalists as "enemy of the people," Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's commented that he was pledged to always defend an independent press, media reports said.
Justin Trudeau. Image credit: Facebook page
Trudeau said the media was "fundamental element of a democracy...must be there to ask questions, at times difficult — often difficult — to political leaders on behalf of the population.
"We must have analysis to say what we are doing that is good and what we are doing that is less good. It is an essential element of a democracy."
Trudeau said political leaders have different outlooks and they should have confidence that the public can read, consume, and reflect on those different points of view.
Trump, who has repeatedly called news outlets he doesn't like as "fake news,"and this month he repeated in a tweet that journalists are the "enemy of the people," and labelled the media that sow "great division and distrust" and are "very dangerous and sick."
Two human rights experts were concerned that the president's attacks could increase the risks of violence towards journalists.
"Each time the president calls the media 'the enemy of the people' or fails to allow questions from reporters from disfavoured outlets, he suggests nefarious motivations or animus. But he has failed to show even once that specific reporting has been driven by any untoward motivations," they wrote.
"Google is really taking advantage of people and it's a really serious thing and a very serious charge," Trump said. "...they have to be careful."
Denying Trump's assertions, Google asserted that it never ranks search results to manipulate public sentiment.
Trudeau said Wednesday, "One of the first things to leave — if there are no media to challenge governments," he said, "is the confidence of people in those governments, if they feel political leaders are doing whatever they wish."
Trudeau said he thinks having the media there to regularly ask questions allows him and his cabinet to govern better.
"I will always defend the role of the media, always [defend] the freedom of speech, always [defend] our capacity as a democracy to ask difficult questions to our political leaders and our governments," he said. "... that is an essential role that we must defend in Canada and around the world."
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#NorthAmericanfree-trade; #IldefonsoGuajardo; #ChrystiaFreeland
Ottawa. Aug 23 (Canadian-Media): Mexican and American negotiators, hoped wrap up their two-way NAFTA talks shortly, said Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo, and pave the way for Canada to rejoin negotiations, media reports said.
Logo of NAFTA secretariat/Wikipedia
Speaking to reporters in Washington on Wednesday morning, Guajardo reported that a North American free-trade agreement renegotiation deal between all three countries, including Canada was underway opening the door for Canada to rejoin negotiations of the free trade talk.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland could see the signs of optimism on resolving bilateral issues within the NAFTA framework and said Canada is looking forward to rejoining the trade negotiations.
Canada has been left out of top-level NAFTA talks for months because sources reportedly said that U.S. found Canada harder to deal with than Mexico and didn’t want Canada in the room for now.
But Mexico has publicly insisted it is only interested in a three-way NAFTA deal with Canada.
Freeland declined comment on what the U.S.-Mexico compromise looks like, saying she would leave it to them to eventually elaborate once talks are concluded.
She insisted Canada will have a say before any full NAFTA deal is clinched.
“We will very much have a voice in the finalization of all of this.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
Canada may not return to NAFTA talks for days or weeks, Mexican minister says as meetings with U.S. continue
#Mexico; #NorthAmericanFreeTradeAgreement; #ldefonsoGuajardo; #FlavioVolpe; #Dan Ujczo; #Bob Lighthizer
Ottawa/Washingto, D.C. (Canadian-Media): After almost a month of meetings between Mexico and the United States with no Canadians in the room, Mexico’s top trade negotiator said Friday that it could be days or weeks before Canada is invited back to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) bargaining table, media reports said.
Canada will definitely not take part when the talks resume next Wednesday, said a source familiar with the negotiations.
Mexico and the U.S. had made a lot of progress, and would be back in Washington next week for a fourth week of two-way talks, said Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.
In spite of his earlier suggestion that Canadians could join them, on Friday he was unclear about the timing of Canada’s return.
“It will depend on these meetings in the next few days and weeks to finish the U.S.-Mexico elements, more particularly the bilateral relationship,” said Guajardo outside the United States Trade Representative office, next door to the White House.
Ildefonso Guajardo. Image credit: Facebook page
But, the Canadian government official who asked not to be named, noted the focus of the Mexico-U.S. sessions, in addition to vehicles it imports duty-free under NAFTA, the session wanted to include more North American-made parts and more content produced by high-wage workers.
It was believed that Canada is expected to agree to much of that, although it was unclear exactly what had been achieved on the automotive issue,
Guajardo seemed to confirm Friday that the negotiations had been wide-ranging, and repeatedly described the topics as bilateral.
“We started with a huge list of items to be closed and now we have been able to resolve a great deal,” he told reporters.
U.S. had proposed that NAFTA automobiles should have 75 percent North American content and be made 40 to 45 percent by workers earning at least $16 an hour.
Flavio Volpe, head of the Canadian Automobile Parts Manufacturers Association, said the two countries were still not clear over the details of the U.S. proposal and had made little progress since May.
“It’s trade negotiating’s summer performance of Groundhog Day,” he said, “another day of guessing when terms that don’t change will include guests that aren’t there.”
Dan Ujczo, a trade lawyer regularly briefed on the discussions said the focus of the discussion has been on what tariffs to impose on those Mexican-made cars that don’t comply with the proposed rules of origin.
The U.S. appears to be pushing for something higher than the current, 2.5 percent favoured nation rate.
The auto issue may have some unwanted fall-out for Canada.
The Mexican negotiators have said they are in daily contact with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
But it was felt that the $16-an-hour wage demand threatens to make some Mexican auto plants less competitive.
And one source familiar with the negotiations said U.S Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer will not go easy when Canada joins the talks again.
“Lighthizer is going to turn the screws to Canada,” the person said. “I think we’d better be ready for that.”
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)
#Canada; #SaudiArabia; #USnotDefendingCanada; #HeatherNauert; #eliminateCanadianinvestement
Ottawa, Aug 8 (Canadian-Media): As the tension between Canada and Saudi Arabia escalated over Canada's Canada’s criticism of the country’s human-rights record, the latest move by the Saudi Government was to eliminate new Canadian investments, media reports said.
Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in an attempt to punish Canada economically after Global Affairs Canada had publicly criticized the Kingdom for jailing dissidents.
"As of Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2018, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) can no longer accept milling wheat or feed barley cargoes of Canadian origin to be supplied," the notice to grain traders said.
In 2017, Canada had also sold 132,000 tonnes of barley to the country, two times as much as it did the previous year.
United States (U.S.), Canada's close ally, also declined to defend Canada during its conflict with Saudi Arabia.
Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman noted the Americans have a “regular dialogue with the government of Saudi Arabia on human rights and other issues.”
"Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together. We can't do it for them, they need to resolve it together," Nauert said in a briefing.
Heather Nauert. Image credit: Facebook page
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Canada must withdraw its recent criticism of his country's human rights record.
Yesterday the Saudi Arabian government had announced plans to withdraw all Saudi students from Canadian universities, colleges and other schools.
Starting next week, the national Saudi Arabian airline, Saudia said that all flights between the country and Canada would be suspended.
Saudi Arabia did not like the interference of Canada when it expressed concern of how the recent additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia.had undone the progress the country achieved under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
In a tweet Canada's Foreign Ministry had requested Saudi Arabia to release all the peaceful human rights activists.
But Saudi Arabia had taken this request as an an attack on the kingdom and has granted the Canadian ambassador 24 hours after considering the latter persona non grata.
It said that Saudi Arabia reserves the right to take further action.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)