John Weekes comments in the Toronto Star on the possibility that more negotiations on the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement will be necessary to satisfy the Democrats, who now control the U.S. House of Representatives.
Trump is often more aligned with the trade-skeptical views of congressional Democrats than with pro-trade congressional Republicans, and the agreement includes some new protectionist provisions. John Weekes, Canada’s chief negotiator on the original NAFTA, said the Democrats probably see the revised NAFTA as an improvement on the original — but, “of course, politics will enter into this.”
“I think it’s going to be pretty hard,” said Weekes, now senior business adviser at law firm Bennett Jones.
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It is not clear if side agreements would work this time as a way to resolve congressional concerns. One possibility that would avoid a broad renegotiation, Weekes said, would be the U.S. making changes through the legislation Congress will have to pass to bring the deal into effect.
One thing seems certain: Canada will face uncertainty through to the very end of the process. Weekes recalled the Canadian side having to fight off last-minute U.S. “shenanigans” when there was an attempt to sneak language into the legislation that differed from what the countries had agreed upon.