|Canada, U.S. reach new NAFTA deal |
Canada and the U.S. ended weeks of intense bargaining Sunday with a last-minute trade deal that gives American farmers major new access to the dairy market here, but preserves a dispute-resolution system the United States wanted killed.
The deal capped a frantic weekend of negotiations and includes several provisions to “rebalance” the North American trading relationship, a Trump administration official said in a conference call shortly before midnight.
It is to be renamed USMCA – United States Mexico Canada Agreement – after President Donald Trump said the name NAFTA had “bad connotations.”
“This is going to be one of the most important trade agreements we’ve ever had,” said another American official on the background-briefing call. “We think this is a fantastic agreement for the United States, but also for Mexico and for Canada.”
The officials highlighted in particular that the U.S. had won a “substantial” increase in access to the Canadian dairy market, and that Canada had agreed to end the “class-seven” milk program that undercut American sales of a special dried-milk product.
That concession is a “big win for American farmers,” one official said. “We’ve got a great result for dairy farmers, which was one of the president’s key objectives in these negotiations.”
But Canada appeared to score a significant victory, as well, with the U.S. agreeing to keep intact the chapter-19 mechanism for resolving disputes over anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties, which American negotiators felt undermined the autonomy of their courts.
The agreement would end more than a year of hard-slogging talks and cap a weekend of last-ditch negotiations designed to meet a Monday deadline set by the U.S.
Stan Bonet 10/1/2018