It appears that we have a deal …

So, according to reports in the Globe and Mail and the Financial Times. The NAFTA is, the FT says that “The new trilateral pact is to be called the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement,” (USMCA) according to “officials from the US and Canada.

The Globe and Mail reports that “President Donald Trump signed off on the nafta-talks-20180930agreement late Sunday night, said four sources with knowledge of the closed-door negotiations. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau convened a late Sunday cabinet meeting at his office in Ottawa. The Mexican Economy Ministry, meanwhile, said it presented text of the preliminary deal to the Mexican Senate.

The Globe and Mail also says that:

  • Canada preserved the Chapter 19 dispute settlement provision, satisfying Mr. Trudeau’s long-standing red line in the negotiations. The deal will also keep in place protections for Canadian cultural industries;
  • Mr. Trump, for his part, gained the right for American farmers to sell more products into Canada’s tightly-controlled supply managed dairy system, his major trade complaint with Canada over the last year and a half;
  • Three sources said a side agreement would see the Trump administration guarantee it will not impose tariffs on most auto imports from Canada;
  • The deal would also allow Canadian consumers to purchase five times more foreign merchandise online without paying import duty than they are currently allowed;
  • While the agreement did contain some Canadian concessions, it mostly limited the damage to Canada from Mr. Trump’s protectionist trade policies. But Canada failed to conclude a deal to get steel and aluminium tariffs lifted. Mr. Trump imposed the levies in June, insisting they were the consequence of Canada not signing onto a NAFTA deal, but two U.S. officials speaking at a background briefing said there was no agreement to lift them despite Canada agreeing to the deal. Those officials said there have been negotiations over the tariffs, but they have not reached a conclusion;
  • Canada also agreed to increase protections for pharmaceutical patents to 10 years, a significant victory for the U.S. in an area it has long pushed Canada on, the U.S. officials said. Canada has long resisted increasing protections for pharma in order to keep drug prices low and help its own generic drug industry … [and] …
  • The U.S. dropped a major demand to gut Chapter 20, a different dispute resolution provision, and it will instead remain exactly as it is now, the U.S. officials said. Chapter 11, however, will be phased out between the U.S. and Canada, the officials said. The provision had allowed corporations to sue governments at special tribunals for interfering in their business. The chapter will, however, remain in place in a scaled-back form in Mexico.

On balance it’s a good enough deal for Canada, as The Economist said a couple of weeks ago because we “Canadians do not have much choice but to bite their tongues. They have the most to lose. A study by the Bank for International Settlements found that the Canadian economy would contract by 2.2% if NAFTA were to disappear, compared with 1.8% in Mexico and only 0.2% in the United States. Canada’s trade is equivalent to almost 65% of its economy. Most of that is with its giant neighbour, which bought 76% of exports last year and supplied just over 51% of imports.” It may, actually be a good deal for Canadian consumers, not that the Trudeau regime cares about them.

In fact I tend to agree with a friend who, in his own social media site, says that “the only reason this did not happen last week or two weeks ago was because the Liberals were playing PARTY POLITICS and not working their asses off for the nation that they represent … [and] … In my opinion this whole thing was about Canada holding off announcement regarding our inevitable concessions until the Question of Quebec Election could be so close to opening the ballot boxes that it would not upset the voting for the Provincial Liberals … [because] … Trudeau is all about Party Politics and the Liberals could not give a red rats ass about how we, as citizens, felt about how doom and gloom and Market downturn as the press painted a horrible Mulroney and Reaganpicture of North America without a tri-lateral agreement.” I part company with my old friend on only one issue: I never thought that the “tri-lateral agreement” was terribly important except as an example to others of the value of freer trade in general … the Key was, always, to preserve the old Canada-US Free Trade Agreement’s main points.

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