Canada launches NAFTA challenge of 'illegal' US tariffs on solar panels

by Ben Pena July 27, 2018, 10:02
Canada launches NAFTA challenge of 'illegal' US tariffs on solar panels

Mexico's president-elect has suggested that he could work well with Donald Trump because they are both anti-establishment leaders with a common touch.

Still, Jesus Seade, Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador's incoming NAFTA negotiator, said on Tuesday he believed a new NAFTA deal could be reached in the next few months. Canada is fighting trade battles with the USA on numerous fronts and getting ready for new attacks in the future.

In a speech at the White House about US manufacturing Monday, Mr. Trump also spoke optimistically about terms with Mexico.

Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland is set to visit with Mexican officials on Wednesday, Bloomberg reports, while Mexico will continue NAFTA negotiations in Washington on Thursday.

The spat over metals has diminished relations between Canada and the USA, with Trump hurling personal insults at Trudeau on Twitter, and raising questions about whether the NAFTA talks can proceed.

Canada said the duties violate North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) rules.

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, Canada is the premier goods export market for businesses in five of the six New England states - in the sixth state, it is the second-largest market - representing more than $8.3 billion in exports in 2017 alone.

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"We're talking to Mexico on NAFTA, and I think we're going to have something worked out", he said.

If the wage floor was enacted immediately, the Canadian official said, four major Mexican auto plants would immediately go out of business.

"Canada is using every available avenue, including the mechanisms within the NAFTA, to challenge the Trump administration's protectionism and defend Canadian interests", said Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa global relations expert and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's former foreign affairs adviser.

The United States has imposed a 30-per-cent safeguard tariff on imports of solar panels from all countries, including Canada, officials said.

The Trump administration lobbied in June for individual trade deals with Canada and Mexico after three-way talks fizzled. For Mexico, the expansion is part of a push to diversify its trading partners in the wake of Trump's previous threats to pull out of NAFTA.

Trump has spoken against Mexican immigration and trade, and Obrador pledged to put Trump "in his place" during his campaign, but despite this history and their differing politics, Obrador said he is optimistic about their working relationship, Reuters reported.

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