National Newswatch

Trudeau’s reelection bid faces the Trump test

May 2 2019 — Alexander Panetta — The Canadian leader was so concerned about Trump he secretly practiced his handshake before their first meeting. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agonized over what might seem like an inconsequential detail before his first meeting with President Donald Trump: how to shake hands. During a February 2017 flight to Washington to meet the president, Trudeau was […]

Behind the scenes with Trump and Trudeau: How they made nice

Oct 3 2018 — Alexander Panetta — After months of tension and insults in their trade war, President Donald Trump tried out a new role with Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: peacemaker. Several sources familiar with a Monday call between the two leaders described the president dominating the conversation with an almost uninterrupted burst of enthusiasm, speaking for the vast majority of […]

NAFTA sticking points: A list of impediments holding up a deal

May 19 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — The NAFTA negotiations could continue for a while, with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer signalling he wants significant changes in multiple areas and isn't interested in a quick, limited deal. Here are some key flashpoints involving Canada: —Autos: This is the sticking point countries have spent the most effort trying to solve. The U.S. wants to stem the loss […]

NAFTA: Tug-of-war unfolding over concluding a quick deal

May 18 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — A quiet power struggle over NAFTA has finally broken into public view, a tug-of-war within Washington between a faction seeking a quick conclusion and another urging lengthier negotiations, possibly spilling into next year. The tension between those conflicting aims has existed as a quiet dynamic of the recent NAFTA conversations before this week, when it […]

‘Nowhere near close:’ U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal

May 17 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — The United States declared the NAFTA countries were nowhere close to a deal in a statement Thursday designed to douse expectations that an agreement might be just a few minor adjustments away. It rebuffed an effort from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and several high-ranking staffers who were in the U.S. on Thursday urging […]

NAFTA: Countries poised to miss target, likely pushing process into 2019

May 16 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — The NAFTA countries appear poised to blow past a target date for getting a deal, rendering it unlikely that the process of negotiating, voting on, and implementing a new continental trade pact will be completed this year. Insiders acknowledge the countries are in no position to produce an agreement text by the Thursday deadline set by the […]

Trudeau tells Trump: We can have a NAFTA deal right now, if you want it

May 15 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reportedly told President Donald Trump that a NAFTA agreement is imminently within reach as long as some controversial demands are set aside. That high-level conversation occurred in the midst of what many insiders view as a last-ditch push for a renegotiated agreement before impending political events pause the process until […]

NAFTA: As deadline nears, Trudeau, Trump discuss prospects of quick deal

May 14 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed the possibility Monday of immediately wrapping up a NAFTA deal despite signs of skepticism about whether that goal is feasible. U.S. officials are sounding less than bullish about the prospects of a NAFTA deal by week's end, which is considered the unofficial deadline for finalizing an agreement […]

NAFTA: Ministers part ways before all-important session next week

May 11 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — NAFTA negotiators parted ways for the weekend with multiple issues still unresolved and mere days left before what's being described as an unofficial deadline for getting a deal this year. The lead ministers went home Friday, saying little about the prospects of completing a deal next week in time to meet deadlines before a pause is forced […]

Libs on Harper praising Trump on Iran deal: He’s entitled to his opinion

May 10 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — The Trudeau government is playing down its difference of opinion with former prime minister Stephen Harper over U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal. Two different senior Liberals offered similarly low-key reactions after the former prime minister and several other former politicians took out a full-page ad in the New York Times […]

Canadian NAFTA concern: North American auto production tied up in red tape

May 9 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — Canada is voicing concerns heard from car companies that some of the rules being considered during the NAFTA negotiations could prove damaging to one of this continent's biggest industries. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she raised some of those worries Wednesday during a meeting with her U.S. counterpart, as countries make what […]

NAFTA’s big sticking point: major gaps persist between U.S., Mexico on autos

May 8 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — A clash in visions for the auto industry continued to cast doubt on the likelihood of an imminent NAFTA deal Tuesday as the three main players gathered for what could be a final effort to achieve an agreement this year. Any hope of a deal rests on Mexico and the U.S. bridging that still-significant gap. Sources said Mexico this week […]

NAFTA watch: Countries meet in possible final push for deal in 2018

May 7 2018 — Alexander Panetta — WASHINGTON — The NAFTA countries began a days-long negotiating round Monday in what could be their final chance for an agreement this year, before the talks enter electoral hibernation. Any possibility of a deal hinges on the ability of Mexico and the United States to resolve a central issue of these negotiations, one that has significantly divided those two countries: auto parts. Mexico delivered a […]