Freeland, Lighthizer to resume NAFTA talks Tuesday in Washington

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It seems nearly a given now that any trade deal Canada strikes with the United States will have to offer up more American access to the Canadian dairy market.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland participates in an armchair discussion with journalist Masha Gessen, moderated by Heather Reisman, CEO of Indigo Books and Music, at the Women in the World Summit in Toronto, Sept. 10, 2018. The United States is seeking to water down or eliminate Chapter 19, which provides for binding arbitration decisions to settle disputes.

"Our farmers don't have access to the Canadian markets the way that they have access to us".

Freeland and her counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, left the bargaining table Friday without a deal.

But a leader of this country's main milk-producing lobby group said Monday his industry has given enough in previous trade deals and will not tolerate more concessions.

It's always a gamble when a government pulls the plug on Parliament, but given the relentless anti-Canadian bombast from Trump, the Trudeau Liberals may be willing to take that gamble.

U.S. President Donald Trump, who says he is prepared to tear up NAFTA, has struck a trade deal with Mexico and threatened to push ahead without Canada.

The U.S. and Canada met for most of last week without reaching a resolution.

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The talks are focused on US demands to scrap the so-called Chapter-19 dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA, overturn some of Canada's current "carve-out" of cultural industries from free-trade rules and loosen protections under the dairy sector's supply management system.

He also warned that the USA and Mexico would move forward bilaterally without Canada. However, he said, Mr. Lighthizer is far more eager to dismantle this dispute-settlement provision.

"I don't think President Trump will go to the mat over Chapter 19".

He said, however, it was wrong for Canada to have publicly declared it would not accept concessions on certain files.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last Wednesday he did not see the need to attend the talks for the time being.

But Wiens said concessions made in Canada's CP-TPP free-trade deal with Pacific nations and the CETA agreement with Europe have already forced his members to give up an extra five per cent of the market - a $250 million loss.

Trudeau replied, "Sorry to disappoint, but we continue to work hard and we are positively optimistic that we can get a win-win-win for all three countries".

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