Canadian trade negotiators to brief PM Trudeau in person

Gold catches late NY bid on NAFTA headlines, but . . .

A deadline of August 31 was set for the Canadians to join or be left out in the cold - and hit with fresh tariffs.

While his blustering included a threat to end NAFTA entirely, it is all bark and no bite. "That I know for sure, right from the horse's mouth". "It would be a good modernized deal if Canada is brought into it". However, Canada does not seem to be feeling any sense of impending doom - and for good reason.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said just last week that the process was needed, because Trump "doesn't always follow the rules." "And if we don't sign the deal, it's because no deal is actually better than a bad deal for Canada".

In other words, governments want to stay in power and get re-elected.

So far, Canada has been unable to obtain a guarantee from the United States that Canadians would not be hit with punitive USA auto tariffs if Ottawa agrees to a new NAFTA deal with Washington.

Trudeau and his team of negotiators are not going to sing to the tune of Trump's tweets. It also wants to continue protections for its dairy industry and defend lumber exports to the United States, which have been hit with duties. In April 2017, Trump almost withdrew from NAFTA after becoming angered by the plight of Wisconsin dairy farmers whose milk protein exports to Canada had been cut off by the Class 7 pricing scheme. "Canada and the US are too intertwined", Graves said.

On Canadian soil, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft was expressing much the same sentiment.

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U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday that Mexico had agreed to eliminate the mechanism. He said Canada and the United States spent a lot of time last week reconciling what the US and Mexico had already agreed upon. "People are kind of sitting on the sidelines thinking, 'How will this affect us in the future?' If we were to lose the auto industry here that would put us into some type of recession", Chiodo said, noting that the auto trade has "always been pretty fair" for both the USA and Canada.

True to form, when asked about Mulroney's remarks, the foreign affairs minister refused to say anything publicly about the discussions around the table for fear of undermining what she described as a cordial and productive atmosphere.

President Donald Trump warned Friday that he would impose 20-per-cent tariffs on auto imports from Canada if it does not agree to a "fair" deal, a move he said would bring "ruination" here.

With the Mexico deal in hand, and Trudeau publicly indicating that Canada's red-line issues are Chapter-19 and cultural industries, the Americans have considerable leverage, he added.

David Wiens, vice president of the Dairy Farmers of Canada lobby group, said Canadian farmers have already given up around 5 percent of a domestic market worth around C$21 billion ($17 billion).

It's hard for me to imagine that Congress would support a NAFTA minus Canada, regardless of who controls the House in January 2019. But he noted that the pain would be felt on both sides of the border.

Trump is also legally restricted.

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