After more than a year of efforts trying to resolve the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), both Canada and United States are still at a deadlock – at least, as of now.
Yet again, it is Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who headed to Washington with high hopes of drafting an agreement. With Mexico already in an agreement with the United States, Canada is in a race against time.
There are two talking points within the NAFTA issue currently. The United States insists that Canada reduces the tariffs on all dairy products, despite Freeland’s rebuttal that the government is committed to supply management. Secondly, Canada believes that the dispute resolution mechanism, mentioned in Chapter 19, should remain in place; something which Americans are currently opposing.
Donald Trump has not kept his silence on the issue, and tweeted over the weekend: “There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out.”
This tweet follows statements recently mentioned off-the-record in a Bloomberg interview by Trump, where he clearly stated that any deal with Canada would be on the terms set by the United States.
This brings Trudeau into the picture. The Canadian premier is known to be an egotist, and this is by far his biggest test now. What if the agreement between the two North American nations fails? Would Trudeau head to Washington for a one-on-one with the POTUS? Or would he chicken out?
While political leaders often don’t show up to negotiate, Trudeau does realize what is at stake here. The NAFTA hangs in a balance, and Trudeau for a brief period here has the opportunity to play the cards. Does he have the political maturity of Trump, or is he going to go down as the egotist he is? Only time will tell.
Emmy Skylar started working for Debate Report in 2017. Emmy grew up in a small town in northern Manitoba. But moved to Ontario for university. Before joining Debate Report, Emmy briefly worked as a freelance journalist for CBC News. She covers politics and the economy.