(Alexander Panetta – Canadian Press)
The formal process in renegotiating the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement could begin any day. The U.S. administration says it will soon serve notice that it will enter discussions with Canada and Mexico, following a 90-day consultation period.
It’s now poised to happen, with Monday’s long-awaited swearing-in of Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump’s trade czar.
In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of key issues at stake:
Dairy: A prime sensitive spot when Canada negotiates trade deals. In Canada’s sheltered dairy industry, imports get slapped with a 270 per cent duty beyond a fixed quota. Canada faced intense pressure to pry open the system in recent negotiations. Canada accepted more European dairy on its grocery shelves, in a deal with the EU. It would have allowed another 3.25 per cent under the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dairy farmers were upset. The Harper government softened the blow with a multibillion-dollar compensation package. This time, with TPP dead, the U.S. could seek a more dramatic opening. U.S. policy-makers have two concerns: First, with Canada’s supply management controls, in general; and more specifically with rules related to milk-protein products. Click here to read more.