NAFTA UPDATE, September 4th  2018


As most of you are aware Canada and the United States ended talks on Friday to update the North American Free Trade Agreement. The talks concluded with no agreement.

President Donald Trump commented “that a pact would be on U.S. terms” but to date Ottawa’s messaging is they will stand firm against signing “just any deal.” Trump told Congress that he plans to sign a trade deal with Mexico in 90 days, which Canada could join “if it is willing.”  In a statement, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said U.S. officials would resume talks with their Canadian counterparts this Wednesday with the aim of getting a deal all three nations could sign.

Friday Trump confirmed off-the-record remarks he made to Bloomberg News that any trade deal with Canada would be “totally on our terms.” “At least Canada knows where I stand!”

Trump said he frequently reminds Canada that if necessary he will slap painful tariffs on auto imports. Such a move, experts warn, would inflict heavy damage on both countries deeply integrated auto sector. Trump has stated “Off the record, Canada’s working their ass off. Every time we have a problem with a point, I just put up a picture of a Chevrolet Impala.

 Global equities are also down following Trump’s comments on trade and Lighthizer’s rejection to budge even with concessions tabled from Canada to maintain Chapter 19 (the independent trade dispute resolution mechanism in NAFTA.) The U.S. wants to eliminate Chapter 19, as it has stalled it from pursuing anti-dumping and anti-subsidy cases. Lighthizer informed Canada that Mexico had agreed to cut the mechanism. Ottawa has firmly stated Chapter 19 is a red line.

While progress has been made between the U.S. and Canada and a deal is possible, I will be attending an emergency meeting with the National Union to further discuss the proposed U.S. tariffs on Canadian vehicle and part imports as well as Unifor’s response at the National Office at Placer Court in Toronto Thursday, September 6, 2018.

The issues are complicated and in the end, they could vary from negotiating new products and investment to closure language. There will be winners and losers in this agreement and it will take all of us, the Leadership and the Membership, to fight for our future in this agreement. We can win this fight together!

 In Solidarity

Tim McKinnon
GM Unit Chairperson