Mexico readies for worst as 4th round of NAFTA talks open

Stephen Harper says he believes Donald Trump is genuinely willing to pull the plug on the North American Free Trade Agreement.

And he happened to be doing so at the very moment his successor Justin Trudeau was a few blocks away at the White House, discussing the same issue with the US president. USA officials say Canadian farmers are overproducing milk, contributing to depressed world prices.

Canada's position remains that the farmers have done nothing wrong, added the source. After Trump mused Wednesday about breaking NAFTA into bilateral deals, his two counterparts called for the trade deal to be preserved and modernized and praised each other for aid provided during natural disasters.

Although the sources noted the American side had not made a demand for greater Canadian market access, USA officials said if such a request were to be made, it would be presented in a separate chapter of the talks. But if NAFTA is terminated, as Trump has threatened, US access to foreign markets could be further imperilled. The so-called supply management system is not part of NAFTA.

"Agricultural trade pretty much doubled under NAFTA, and there is a large swath of agricultural interests that want to make sure that stays open", said Carlo Dade, director of the trade and investment centre at the Canada West Foundation.

Accompanied by Mexican Senate President Ernesto Cordero, right, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets the Mexican Senate on Friday..

  • Jon Douglas