Canada’s Turn to Negotiate

Mexico was the easier partner in NAFTA talks.

Allison Fedirka |August 28, 2018

One year in and one tentative bilateral deal later, the hardest part of NAFTA negotiations still lies ahead. The U.S. and Mexico on Monday announced that they had resolved their differences and had reached an agreement on a trade deal. Canada has not been outright excluded from participating in the U.S.-Mexico deal, but nor is its inclusion a forgone conclusion. The conversation will now focus on the U.S.-Canada bilateral relationship – a relationship in which, contrary to U.S.-Mexico trade, the two players are on more equal footing. The intensity of negotiations will reflect this fact.

Trade deficits have been a battle cry in the U.S.-led trade wars, but the U.S. actually had a slight trade surplus with Canada in 2017. The U.S. trade deficit in goods with Canada was $17.1 billion (versus $71 billion with Mexico), according to the U.S. Trade Representative. (Both figures pale in comparison to the U.S. goods deficit with China and the European Union, which totaled $347 billion and

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