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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.
Freeland, Trudeau & Trump/twitter
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.
Freelnad 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)