For those with lingering night terrors from the previous renegotiation of NAFTA, the concept of the agreement’s reopening may bring to mind trailers for classic horror movie sequels. That’s aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.
But this time is different, says the US special envoy to Canada.
Ambassador David Cohen said in an interview with CBC News that his country’s officials have begun informal talks to prepare for new negotiations called for in the deal.
We are just past the three-year halfway point to the six-year anniversary of the new North American Trade Agreement, and countries must begin meeting to discuss upcoming changes.
“On the U.S. side, as we approach sunset, we’re just starting to have some internal discussions about what we want to discuss with Mexico and Canada,” Cohen said in an interview.
Mr. Cohen gave a wide-ranging interview this week to coincide with his own milestone two-year anniversary. his arrival in ottawa in December 2021 Confirmed In the US Senate.
He expressed confidence that the process would eliminate the existential drama that engulfed negotiations in 2017 and 2018. One notable difference is that President Joe Biden’s administration has avoided hinting at an end to the agreement, even inadvertently, down to the choice of language.
Unlike Donald Trump’s team, the current Office of the U.S. Trade Representative refuses to use the term “sunset clause.”
The current team prefers the more collaborative-sounding “joint review” enshrined in the new NAFTA when describing the process going forward. Article 34.7.
Review of trade agreements begins in 2026
The rules require countries to begin meeting annually from 2026 onwards, with two options: renew the agreement or begin negotiating changes.
Countries can then renew the agreement, known in the United States as USMCA, for another 10 years. If this fails, the agreement will expire in 2036. In other words, the agreement will cease to exist.
Cohen says no one is talking about breaking the deal right now.
Indeed, he noted that it is frequently touted in Washington by members of both parties as a model example of a modern trade agreement.
“I haven’t heard anything that says they want to repeal the USMCA,” Cohen said, adding that even if they don’t like the disputes committee’s decision, there’s no desire in Washington to scrap the agreement, known as the USMCA, or to replace it in Canada. He pointed out that no one was talking about destroying it. As Kusuma.
The United States has lost several high-profile conflicts.one on dairy products,another car.
Cohen says it is too early to speak publicly about the US position, but there is a good chance the US will demand bolder detail in both of these areas.
Already, mechanisms within the U.S. government are in the analysis phase, gathering data for two reports on the impact of the new rules on cars. one is the deadline next year and another is scheduled for 2025.
Biden and Trump: Contrasting styles
If you look closely, there are already hints that these negotiations could look different depending on who is in charge of the White House.
Biden and Trump do not support free trade, so it is style rather than content that distinguishes Biden and Trump’s approaches.
Let’s take a look at the auto industry’s decisions from last year.
Both the Biden and Trump administrations have attempted to use unexpectedly strict formulas to calculate what counts as a North American car. Mexico and Canada tried this and won.
Now, Trump says this flatly. will ignore Judgment. Meanwhile, his former trade czar suggested a pre-emptive strike to weaken it.
Robert Lighthizer lamented that while this was good for China, it was bad for North American industry. wrote The United States should warn its trading partners now, and when the time comes for renegotiations, the United States will demand that this decision be reversed.
He said it would effectively serve as a deterrent to car companies, warning that it was a gamble for car companies to try to build assembly lines based on these rules. Because rules don’t last.
Highlights of my two years in Ottawa
Although he didn’t specifically mention the Trump administration, Cohen reflected on how he felt when he arrived in Canada in an interview with CBC News.
He says virtually everyone he spoke to, including business leaders, civil society groups, government officials and ordinary people on the street, expressed their opinion on the breakdown in trust between Canada and the United States.
He said Canadians were asking, “‘What happened? Did we do something wrong? You were once our best friend…I don’t know if that’s true anymore.’ I would ask,” he said. ”
He is Canadian attitude backlash Toward the United States since President Biden took office.
The Biden administration canceled the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada on its first day in office, but the two countries have since managed to resolve disputes over immigration and electric vehicle incentives.
Cohen called the change in sentiment one of the highlights of his term. He also mentioned Biden’s visit to Ottawa and emotional trip to Gander, New Jersey, earlier this year.
He says he knew the story, which was immortalized on the musical stage. come from far awayabout how a small town took in thousands of stranded American tourists after the September 11 attacks.
But he says it doesn’t compare to talking to people who have opened their homes to strangers.
“They’re kind, open, gentle people,” Cohen said. “In the United States, people like to say, ‘Canadians are nice.’ I think Canadians are nice. I think people in Gander are very nice.”
Ambassador does not discuss US partisan politics
One thing Mr. Cohen is determined to avoid discussing at all costs, especially in interviews with Canadian media, is next year’s U.S. election.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau begins to activate US politics even more oftencalls his opponent “MAGA conservative. ”
How does the U.S. ambassador feel about his country’s politics being drawn into Canadian debates ahead of the yet-to-be-scheduled election?
“My answer is, I don’t comment on politics because it’s really offensive,” Cohen said. “That’s something I scrupulously avoid.”
He cited the U.S. Hatch Act of 1939. I allow it U.S. federal employees may express their opinions, but may not participate in activities deemed partisan while on the job.
The line is not always clear, but White House lawyers recently instructed Federal employees may not use the term “MAGA” in a positive or negative manner while on the job.