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Clock ticks down on potential Sunday NAFTA deadline

01 October, 2018, 11:40 | Author: Shawna Walton
  • Chip Somodevilla  Getty Images North America

An announcement was "imminent" as of Sunday night, with just hours to go before the US -imposed midnight deadline, the official said.

Earlier this summer Lighthizer, the US trade representative, took a different tack by negotiating separately with Mexico and ultimately forging a bilateral agreement, putting pressure on Ottawa to join or face the possibility of being left out.

U.S. -Canada talks bogged down earlier this month, and most trade analysts expected the September 30 deadline to come and go without Canada being reinstated.

The deal is said to involve more United States access to Canada's dairy market and a cap on Canada's vehicle exports to the US.

US President Donald Trump, left and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G7 Summit in La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada, June 8, 2018.

Initial reports indicate that the revised agreement will allow the USA greater access to Canada's dairy market and addresses Canadian concerns about potential auto tariffs, sources told CNN.

OTTAWA - An 11th-hour NAFTA deal has been reached that allows Canada to rejoin the trilateral trade pact, sources tells The Canadian Press.

"The door has been closed on the region's trade fragmentation", he said, adding the deal "will give certainty and stability to Mexico's trade with its North American partners".

Meantime, congratulations were being offered among key stakeholders who have been on the edge of their seats to see if Canada and the United States would find common ground.

Canada has agreed to sign on to a trade deal between US and Mexico, preserving the three-country North American Free Trade Agreement after more than a year of tortuous negotiations, a USA official and a Canadian official told CNN late Sunday.

The Canadian dollar and Mexican peso both rallied as word circulated that a trilateral deal had been hammered out.

Federal cabinet ministers were being called into a late-night NAFTA meeting Sunday with the prime minister amid signs that the fall finale to Canada's long-running NAFTA drama may finally be at hand - with the famous unpredictability of the man in the White House giving everyone cause for caution. They suspected that Canada, which had said it wasn't bound by US deadlines, was delaying the talks until after provincial elections Monday in Quebec, where support for Canadian dairy tariffs runs high.

While the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) avoids tariffs, it will make it harder for global auto makers to build cars cheaply in Mexico and is aimed at bringing more jobs into the United States.

It also appears to preserve the key dispute-resolution provisions - Chapter 19 - which allows for independent panels to resolve disputes involving companies and governments, as well as Chapter 20, the government-to-government dispute settlement mechanism.

The deal will preserve a trade dispute settlement mechanism that Canada fought hard to maintain to protect its lumber industry and other sectors from US anti-dumping tariffs.

Trump, who has already imposed tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, has also repeatedly threatened to impose even more crippling levies on auto imports if a deal can't get done.

Canada is also reported to have secured some protections for automobile industry against potential United States tariffs.

"It's either going to be the text goes in with Mexico and the USA or the text goes in with all three countries", he told the Fox News Channel.

Current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto leaves office November 30 and therefore, the clock was ticking to get the deal done. Congress will then have 60 days to review and approve the new deal. Dairy access was a key USA demand, made repeatedly by Trump, though the US already exports about $500 million of milk products duty-free to Canada every year. That is more than the 2 million units now exported.

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