So far, Canada has been unable to obtain a guarantee from the United States that Canadians would not be hit with punitive US auto tariffs if Ottawa agrees to a new NAFTA deal with Washington.
As the two nations' chief negotiators prepared to resume their talks in Washington Tuesday, dairy producers suggest this deal is a line in the sand for them.
"For this government to go out and be seen as giving too much to the American side on agriculture, and dairy in particular, would be ... nearly suicidal politically", Charest said.
A study commissioned by the Canadian Embassy says 9 million jobs "spread across every congressional district" are supported by the Canada-U.S. economic partnership.
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"Without Chapter 19, NAFTA is utterly useless as it would subject Canada and Mexico to the vagaries of the USA political system and its courts when determining trade policy actions", said Derek Holt, vice-president at Scotiabank Economics, in a note recently.
Trudeau meets on Tuesday with the Dairy Farmers of Canada, which suspect he might be ready to sell them out.
"The atmosphere continues to be cordial, there continues to be goodwill on both sides", said Freeland, who said she made sure the significance of Tuesday's date was not lost on her American counterpart, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
Canada must end its low-price milk proteins policy to reach a US-Canadian deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, US Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said. "That's important and that's been a success due to Canada and the United States working together and due to Mexico showing some significant flexibility over the summer", Freeland said.
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Trump sounded a more upbeat note earlier, and said he expected to know whether a deal could be struck to include Canada in the next few days. Under U.S. trade negotiating laws, a text for that agreement is due by October 1. That second level is what the public is witnessing.
"We have all been dealing in good faith", he said. "It can't be renamed something or called something else", Perdue said when asked about dairy concessions needed to reach a NAFTA deal, referring to a new milk class created a year ago by Canada to price milk ingredients such as protein concentrates, skim milk and whole milk powder.
"I think there's good momentum and I think there's good honest brokering". "They've got their full teams engaged on this, and I feel positive they can get to an agreement". They are aiming to complete a deal by the end of the month so that Mexico, Canada and the U.S. can sign an agreement by the end of November.
"It's conceivable this could be the first big trade win for President Trump's administration", Orr said. Eares are on the ground for United States and China developments but at the fore again was the NAFTA negotiations. He needs a win on trade and this would be a win on trade.
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At the White House, Trump told reporters Canada wanted a deal "very much" and that talks were "coming along well".