U.S.-Canada trade talks grind on

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By Daina Beth Solomon and David Lawder

U.S. and Canadian negotiators pushed ahead in grinding talks to rescue the North American Free Trade Agreement on Thursday, but a few stubborn issues stood in the way of a deal, including dairy, protection for media companies, and how to solve future trade disputes.

A U.S. source familiar with the discussions in Washington said it was still unclear whether the two sides could bridge their gaps or whether U.S. President Donald Trump will opt for a Mexico-only bilateral trade deal.

"We’re down to three issues: Chapter 19, the cultural issues and dairy. We’ve created leverage and driven Canada to the table," the source said. "Part of our problem is that Canada has been backsliding on its commitments (on dairy).

Trump has set a deadline for a deal this week, prompting aides to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to work late into the evening to find ways to move forward.

Freeland kept up her positive talk about the discussions for a second day in a row, saying that the discussions were"constructive and productive."

"The atmosphere continues to be good. There is goodwill on both sides," she said following a meeting with Lighthizer, adding that officials on both sides would continue with detailed discussions.

She declined to discuss specific issues under negotiation.

U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady, a powerful voice in Congress on trade, told reporters on Thursday that differences remained between the two sides over Canada's dairy quota regime and a trade dispute resolution settlement procedure and "other longstanding issues."

The Trump administration charges that Canada discriminates against its U.S. dairy exports. It also wants to end the Chapter 19 arbitration panels for resolving disputes over anti-dumping tariffs, something Canada has used to defend its lumber exports to the United States, despite U.S. charges that Canadian lumber is unfairly subsidized.

"They are continuing to push toward a conclusion of that agreement. A depends on the seriousness of Canada in resolving these final disputes," Brady told reporters after speaking with Lighthizer earlier on Thursday. "My sense is that everyone is at the table with the intention of working these last, always difficult issues out."

The third unresolved issue is Canada's insistence that previous NAFTA cultural exemptions protecting its publishing and media companies from being acquired by American companies be preserved, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week saying this was important to Canada's national sovereignty and identity.

Lighthizer has referred to the exemptions as "cultural protectionism" as Canadian companies are free to buy U.S. media outlets.

Trump has threatened to push ahead with a bilateral deal with Mexico, effectively killing the three-country NAFTA pact, which covers $1.2 trillion in trade.

The United States and Mexico reached an agreement on overhauling NAFTA at the beginning of last week, turning up the pressure on Canada to agree to new terms.

Trump said on Wednesday that he expected it to be clear whether there would be a deal to include Canada in a few days. The U.S.-Canadian talks resumed Wednesday after failing to reach a conclusion last Friday.

Canada also wants a permanent exemption from Trump's steel and aluminum tariffs, and for Washington to eliminate the threat of U.S. auto tariffs.

But Freeland said the "Section 232" national security tariffs on metals were not part of the current NAFTA talks.

"Canada’s position on the 232 tariffs is unchanged. These tariffs are unjustified and illegal," she said on Thursday.

Trump has claimed that the 1994 NAFTA pact has caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of U.S. jobs, something that most economists dispute.

Data released on Wednesday showed the U.S. trade deficit hit a five-month high of $50 billion. The shortfall with Canada shot up 57.6 percent.

Trump has notified Congress he intends to sign the trade deal reached last week with Mexico by the end of November, and officials said the text would be published by around Oct. 1.

Negotiators have blown through several deadlines since the talks started in August 2017. As the process grinds on, some in Washington insist Trump cannot pull out of NAFTA without the approval of Congress.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2018.

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

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protection for media companies

Trudeau declared unequivocally that Canada won't join any trade arrangement that eliminates his nation's protectionist policy on “cultural industries”.

What are Trudeau's “cultural industries“? Well, that would be oversight over the telecom and media sectors. Essentially Trudeau would not want any of that vexatious free market media things meddling with the state-operated propaganda broadcasts. Really you cannot make this crap up...

Good to see all this stuff out in the public. Trudeau cannot have the bothersome free market speech things interfering the progressive state-managed media. When you think about it, it's rather comical while also concurrently discloses Trudeau's progressive ideology.

The left side spectrum worldview has invariably been dependent upon on control over the thoughts of the populace under their dominion. Trudeau's open attestation is a direct declaration of all criticism imposed on the political left.

Either the direct state control is via TV broadcast or newspaper or even social media, the authoritarian command ways of the progressive global perspective utterly can't contend on an open arena of ideas. Utilizing a well cloaking intricated catchy phraseology such as "cultural industries", is only signify to becloud the innate hypocrisy between what is being advocated and what is actually veritable.

"Freedom of speech is a principal pillar of a free government; when this support is taken away, the constitution of a free society is dissolved, and tyranny is erected on its ruins."

                         - Benjamin Franklin

Democrat-socialist progressive ideology is a credo of authoritarian regimentation that can only function flawlessly if the same entities are completely in charge of the economic composition that warrants their existence. To break the foundation that endorses this ideology, one must eliminate their commanding authority over the financial/economical facets of things.

One particular statement that caught my attention when Trudeau's says,

"It is inconceivable to Canadians that an American network might buy Canadian media affiliates, whether it’s newspapers or TV stations or TV networks,"

That right there is a synonymous sentence that could be reiterated by any bunch of communist authoritarians.

Think about it... To put it plainly, there are trillions and trillions worth of dollars at stake in this!!

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