U.S. may be asking Canada for trade concessions we're not even aware of: Former ambassador
As NAFTA negotiations near yet another deadline, a former U.S. Ambassador to Canada says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his negotiating team may need to worry about more than the reported sticking points between the two sides.
“There actually may be more things going on here than we know,” Bruce Heyman told BNN Bloomberg in an interview on Tuesday.
“One of my concerns is that we have an export limitation or a cap with Mexican automobiles at 2.4 million autos and SUVS. Have they laid that on the table for the Canadians as well, expecting Canada to sign on for something like that?”
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NAFTA negotiations between Canada and the United States are slated to resume on Wednesday in Washington with the contentious issues of supply management and dispute resolution still believed to be the major sticking points.
Trudeau said the NAFTA timeline remains unknown. “We might be days or weeks away now, it might not be,” Trudeau said Monday in a televised interview with Maclean’s magazine.
Stateside, the U.S. majority Congress whip Steve Scalise said Tuesday that “there is not an unlimited amount of time” for Canada to get in on the NAFTA renegotiation.
While Heyman said that Scalise was “carrying water” for the U.S. trade representatives (USTR) and the White House in efforts to curry favour for the next round of Congressional appointments, he did also acknowledge that the clock is ticking.
“I don’t underestimate the strength of the Canadian team,” Heyman said. “That being said, it looks like USTR is either asking for something that is just a bridge too far for Canada or they’re just frustrated with the way some of these negotiations are going, or are worried about a number of members of Congress who are already speaking out, saying that NAFTA means three countries together.”
“These last few days of any negotiation – assuming that we’re at another false ending - are always tough,” he added.