Canada's Freeland says U.S. NAFTA talks still constructive, productive

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Washington, Sep 11 The US and Canada will resume high-level talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

Freeland spent three days in Washington last week and said on Friday as she prepared to leave that she and Lighthizer were making very good progress in some areas, although a deal remained out of reach.

Mulroney said Justin Trudeau phoned him last weekend to discuss the NAFTA situation and the two spoke for an hour.

After her stop in Washington, Freeland is due to attend this week's meetings of the governing Liberal Party of Canada in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. After more than a year of talks, Canada and the United States are still trying to resolve differences over the North American Free Trade Agreement, which also includes Mexico.

But even if Canada does give in to U.S. President Donald Trump's repeated attacks on the country's tariffs on dairy imports and its supply management system, some economists south of the border say it will not be enough to seal a new trade deal.

He and other American politicians have long demanded Canada's system of domestic dairy protections either be abolished or heavily modified to give U.S. exports a bigger share.

Canadian and USA officials continue to chip away in pursuit of a new North American Free Trade Agreement deal but without the top players at the table. He adds that Canada may still have recourse to an alternative, in particular, bring its dispute before the world trade Organization.

"Canada wants to make a deal".

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"We agreed that it would be useful to continue talking today, so we're back for more negotiations", Freeland told reporters as she entered the USTR offices in Washington.

Democrats hope to take control of the U.S. Congress from Trump's fellow Republicans in November congressional elections.

Trump almost tore up the NAFTA pact past year after visiting farmers in Wisconsin, a major USA dairy producer that Washington says has been hurt by Canadian protectionism.

The trade ministers are set to meet again at the end of the month.

Daniel Ujczo, a US trade lawyer who has worked for both the Canadian and the USA governments, rejects the notion that Canada and the United States are at a stalemate.

"Maybe that helps us all put into perspective the negotiations that we're having - and also put into a little bit of historical perspective the importance and the significance of the relationship between Canada and the United States", she said of the anniversary.

"I think it's something that we obviously have to be aware the president is contemplating". "I can't read the tea leaves, but. coming back and saying, "Sorry, we couldn't get an agreement" is just too hard politically to manage" on both sides, Sosnow said.

Experts note that the desire to make a trade deal happen is influenced by upcoming political events, including the USA midterm elections in November, a transition of presidential power in Mexico in December and next year's Canadian election.

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