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May 16, 2018

NAFTA: Are Canada, Mexico Ready To Seal The Deal?

 |  By: Anna-Lisa Laca

While there have been rumors a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will be released this week, Canada and Mexico aren’t done negotiating.

“Canada’s trade minister Chrystia Freeland isn’t headed to Washington today,” Shaun Haney of Real Agriculture told MILK’s Anna-Lisa Laca today. “That tells me we are probably not going to wrap up the deal today.”

But Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters yesterday that Canada is optimistic a deal will be done very soon. Mexican negotiators are signaling much less optimism.

“It is not easy. We do not think we will have it by Thursday,” Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said yesterday referencing the May 17 deadline House Speaker Paul Ryan put forward for the current Congress to consider the deal. “We will keep negotiating, and in the moment that we have a good negotiation, we can close the deal ... independent of which Congress (the current or new) that will vote on it.”

According to Haney, there’s a lot of hot button issues like autos and dairy that have not yet been worked out.

“Have they made progress, yes,” Haney said. “But some of these contentious issues where they’re going to have to go to a state or province and sell it to people, they’ve had a hard time.”

Although U.S. dairy leaders have said they are confident the president will address dairy issues, including the removal of Canada’s Class 7, Haney says dairy leaders in Canada are not willing to budge.

“On the Canadian side there were some congratulatory comments from dairy farm groups saying they are very happy and they encourage the Canadian government to hold firm on this issue,” he says adding that if you take Canadian dairy at their word, they will not get rid of Class 7.

Watch the full interview with Haney below.