US Releases NAFTA Objectives

The United States has released its list of demands on the North American Free Trade Agreement (N.A.F.T.A).  An 18 page document summarizing American goals was released yesterday.

The proposed changes include a request to give American local, and state governments a way out of  agreements.  Page 16 reads:  “Exclude sub-federal coverage (state and local governments) from the commitments being negotiated.”  Canada wants to model this on the recently concluded trade deal with Europe, where procurement is open.

A sticking point might be how to change the appeals process.  The US is seeking to eliminate a process where trade disputes are appealed to a NAFTA panel.  Instead they’d like to see disputes solved in American courts.  According to CBC this is something experts see as  “a major red-line issue for Canada.”

Canadians are in the process  of appealing a decision in April to place additional duties on softwood lumber.  Those fees begin at 24%.

Wynne Commits to Standing for Ontario’s Interests

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne released a statement on pledging she would stand up for her province.  “As Premier, I am committed to standing up for Ontario workers and businesses.  I see this as the next step in defending Ontario’s  interests and strengthening our trading relationships across North America,” she said.

Wynne has been meeting with state Governors in Colorado, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Nevada.  The province has named Jim Peterson as Chief Negotiator for Softwood Lumber.

Canadian Ambassador David McNaughton is meeting with the Premiers today in Edmonton.  He applauded the group’s unity.  “We’ve been very successful so far in having a unified message out of Canada that premiers have had a really important role in our engagement with the U.S. and I think that’s going to continue,” he said according to the CBC.   Negotiations are scheduled to start August 17, 2017.