Aug 31 2018

It’s The Same Building Only With A Nice Gold TRUMP! On The Top

What’s your problem with that?

Nafta Talks Between U.S. and Canada Turn Tense as Deadline Looms
By Alan Rappeport and Ana Swanson, The New York Times
Aug. 31, 2018

Trade negotiations between the United States and Canada turned tense on Friday morning, as both countries struggled to reach agreement on several key issues and President Trump continued to disparage Canada and its trade practices.

The sudden rocky patch came after days of optimism from negotiators in both countries, raising the prospect that the last-ditch talks to salvage the North American Free Trade Agreement could falter.

The Trump administration had set a Friday deadline to strike a deal with Canada, threatening to move ahead with a bilateral trade pact with just Mexico if an agreement between the three countries could not be reached. After several days of marathon meetings that seemed to presage a deal, the chances of such an agreement by the end of Friday began looking doubtful.

Talks between the United States and Canada remain deadlocked over several contentious issues, including Canada’s dairy sector, its rules governing movies, books and other media, and a mechanism for settling trade disputes between the two countries, people briefed on the talks said.

On Friday morning, the United States trade representative put out a statement saying that Canada had yet to make any concessions on dairy products, which has become a source of ire for Mr. Trump.

“The negotiations between the United States and Canada are ongoing,” a spokeswoman for the United States trade representative said in a statement. “There have been no concessions by Canada on agriculture.”

Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s foreign minister, said repeatedly this week that Canada and the United States had agreed not to discuss the details of the talks in public while negotiations were taking place.

Arriving for a meeting with Mr. Lighthizer (Trump’s trade negotiator) on Friday morning, Ms. Freeland said that she was looking forward to hearing what he had to say after a night of reflection. But after a meeting that lasted more than an hour, it appeared that the two sides were no closer to a deal.

“We are not there yet,” Ms. Freeland told reporters outside of the office of the United States Trade Representative. “Canada is a country that is good at finding win-win compromises — having said that, in trade negotiations, in this negotiation, we always stand up for the national interest and that is what we’re going to continue to do.”

She added: “We’re looking for a good deal, not just any deal.”

The talks were further complicated by a report in the Toronto Star on Friday that quoted off-the-record comments Mr. Trump gave during an interview on Thursday with Bloomberg News. According to that report, Mr. Trump said he had no plans to make concessions to Canada and that any agreement would be “totally on our terms.”

Asked about the authenticity of the quotes, Lindsay Walters, a White House spokeswoman, did not dispute them.

“The Canadian and American negotiators continue to work on reaching a win-win deal that benefits both countries,” Ms. Walters said.

Ms. Freeland said that she did believe that Mr. Lighthizer was looking for a win-win agreement, but took a long pause before answering when asked if the United States was negotiating in good faith.

At a rally in Indiana on Thursday night, Mr. Trump expressed his frustration with Canada and its dairy protections. The president accused Canada of not treating the United States fairly and said that if negotiations failed he would punish Canada with car tariffs.

“If it doesn’t happen, then we’ll put tariffs on the cars coming in from Canada, and that’ll be even better,” Mr. Trump said, complaining about the unfairness of Canadian dairy tariffs. “But I think it’s going to happen, and we’ve really developed a very good relationship.”

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