Canada and the US have agreed on the basis of the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), reaching a compromise in late night talks on Sunday after months of standoff, CBC reported, citing a senior Canadian source.
The breakthrough came on Sunday evening as the negotiating parties have agreed on key elements of the revised trade agreement, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported, citing a senior source with the direct knowledge of the talks.
A high-ranking team of Canadian officials, including Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Canada’s ambassador to Washington David MacNaughton and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, were thrashing out the details of the deal via a video conference with Washington over the weekend.
Earlier in the day, MacNaughton indicated to the reporters waiting outside the PM’s office that the deal was around the corner. “Lots of progress, not there yet,” he said.
The deal reportedly grants the US farmers access to heavily protected dairy market. Canada, in turn, is said to have agreed to put a cap on its automobile exports to the US.
Canada’s high tariffs on most US dairy products have become the main point of contention that had stalled the negotiations for months, making the prospect of Canada joining the US-Mexico deal, struck in August, increasingly feeble.
Canada charges the U.S. a 270% tariff on Dairy Products! They didn’t tell you that, did they? Not fair to our farmers!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2018
It was essential for the parties to reach the deal, coveted by the industries of the two states, before midnight, so it can be signed by outgoing Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto on his last day in office, December, 1.
Earlier, Trump indicated that he was prepared to keep Canada out of the NAFTA agreement if a “fair deal” is not reached, arguing that it was “no political necessity” for the US to insist on Canada’s participation and alleging that the US economy might be better off in the deal with Mexico only.
On September 1, Trump notified the Congress of his intent to sign a deal with Mexico, which he is eligible to do in 90 days.