Labour Unions, Manufacturing Workers Protest NAFTA Talks In Montreal

President Donald Trump will not agree to a NAFTA deal he doesn't like US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross warned though he added that he expects the renegotiations talks to be a success

OTTAWA-How much is North-American-enough?

Trump, vowing to undo what he portrays as disastrous trade deals, has in recent days expressed different views of the North American Free Trade Agreement, stoking investor worries.

The potential rewriting of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could entail significant changes in the automotive footprint, but FCA is making reassurances on its commitment to Canada.

Canada's counter-proposals on controversial American demands for a renewed NAFTA were not rejected out of hand yesterday by the U-S - providing a glimmer of hope that the pact may yet be saved.

The big unknown is how the United States will respond.

Senior Canadian and Mexican officials, who met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, also struck a more upbeat note on Thursday.

Previous complaints have done little to strengthen labor laws, but union representatives say that it "gives ammunition at the negotiating table".

"The negotiations need to come to a conclusion soon because companies in North America can not make long term plans in an era of uncertainty", she says.

Canada is open to discussing a periodic review of NAFTA, but not a hard and fast "sunset" clause. "But you know, backup cameras aren't", MacNaughton said in his only elaboration of the new Canadian proposal.

South Korea has already said it will complain to the WTO over what it sees as USA violations over the tariffs, and will ask other members of the trade body to join it.

Labeling the existing deal unfair to the US, the Trump administration has proposed increasing the required North American content to 85 percent and adding a new rule that 50 percent of the content originate in the USA for cars and trucks coming from Mexico and Canada.

The Americans withdrew from the TPP after Donald Trump became president, prompting the remaining 11 nations to work toward a revised deal without the U.S. Canada agreed to make some changes in TPP to its dairy market, benefiting dairy exporting countries, such as New Zealand.

USA poultry producers are watching talks starting this week in Montreal to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and whether President Trump follows through on his pledge to pull out of the trade deal. As Mexican, Canadian, and USA officials continue to debate on how to overhaul the agreement, Trump has continually threatened to withdraw from the agreement.

The United States has identified autos as a top priority in the talks.

A previous round of talks last November ended in disarray after Canada objected to parts of the proposed text and Trudeau was lambasted for missing a key meeting with Japan's prime minister on how to secure a deal.

"I'm optimistic", he said outside the talks.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said nobody was expecting a deal to be struck in the current round of talks, but Canada was approaching the negotiations with a "spirit of positive intent" and expected the same of its partners. TD Bank says the central bank would reduce rates by as much as three-quarters of a point and the loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known, would fall as much as 5 percent against its USA counterpart. The Canadian proposal would arguably strengthen the system for countries wishing to keep participating, but allow the U.S.to leave if it wants.

Trudeau was scheduled to hold bilateral business meetings Wednesday in addition to the roundtable with the heads of Royal Dutch Shell, Microsoft and Ericsson.

Trump has described NAFTA as disastrous for the US economy and threatened to pull out of the pact, though on Tuesday he said the talks in Montreal were going well. "Look at the auto today - it's 80 pct different", Guajardo said.

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