In The Media

NAFTA talks to proceed even if U.S. government shuts down: report

by Kelsey Johnson (feat. Sarah Goldfeder)

iPolitics
January 19, 2018

Next week’s NAFTA re-negotiation talks in Montreal are expected to proceed as scheduled, despite the looming threat of a government shutdown south of the border.

Inside U.S. Trade reported Thursday the talks will continue as planned – although American officials “might have to make do with a smaller retinue in Montreal.”

Global Affairs Canada refused to say Friday whether the department has received confirmation from the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) that next week’s talks will proceed. The Canadian position, the department said, is that as of right now talks will proceed as scheduled.

“We cannot comment on internal human resources policy of the US government,” spokesperson John Babcock said in email, adding questions should be directed to USTR officials.

USTR officials have yet to respond.

The U.S. government is on the brink of its second government shutdown in five years. Congress has until midnight tonight to pass a funding bill or come up with a short-term fix to keep the lights on in Washington, D.C.

The House of Representatives passed a one-month spending bill late Thursday night. The vote punted the file to the Senate, where a bitter fight erupted on the chamber floor. That’s fuelling speculation the government could be forced to shut down soon — although Congress might pass a short-term funding bill to give Congressional leaders more time to negotiate.

The possible government shutdown comes just days before Canadian, Mexican and American officials are scheduled to meet in Montreal for the sixth round of North American Free Trade Agreement renegotiation talks Jan. 21-29.

A government shutdown does not mean every federally funded agency, service and program will stop operating. Certain services – like the military, food inspectors, border services and the U.S. postal service – are deemed essential and continue to operate.

Each department can also determine its own “essential” staff.

“USTR has exempted themselves as essential. So, they’ll be there working,” said Carlo Dade, trade director with the Canada West Foundation, noting that the U.S. team in Montreal is likely to be smaller.

Sarah Goldfeder, a principal at the Ottawa-based lobbying and government relations firm Earnscliffe,  agreed. Goldfeder previously served as ‘special assistant’ to two U.S. ambassadors to Canada.

“Leads will likely be designated ‘essential personnel’ and continue to work,” she said in an email.

Goldfeder said it’s unlikely every official involved would be deemed “essential.” Those decisions, she said, likely were made this past week or the week before.

However, any U.S. government staff working with the American trade mission in Montreal likely would not receive their per diems or see their hotel costs covered during the shutdown, Goldfeder added.

Global Affairs would not say Friday whether, as host nation of next week’s talks, the Canadian government would be expected to cover the Americans’ hotel costs.

A 2015 contingency plan prepared under the Obama administration shows the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative considered 75 of its staff members as essential personnel.”This requirement may be adjusted upwards or downwards as necessary to assist in these functions,” the plan reads.

The U.S. government’s trade infrastructure employs more than 200 people.

Government shutdowns have been known to delay trade negotiations in the past. During the 16-day government shutdown in 2013, the Obama administration was forced to postpone a round of trade talks between the United States and Europe.

The shutdown also meant agency websites were not updated, government reports were not released and national parks were closed.


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
 
SEARCH
PODCAST

An Update on the NAFTA Renegotiations

May 21, 2018


On today's Global Exchange Podcast, we touch base with CGAI's North American trade experts in light of a busy week on the NAFTA file in Washington. After months of hard-pressed negotiations, and 6 weeks of 'perpetual' discussions in Washington, the deal has reached its next turning point, with Congressional leadership signalling that they'd need a new deal by May 17th in order to have it passed before U.S. mid-term elections in the Fall. With no deal in sight, and the Congressional deadline now in the rear-view mirror, we sit down with Sarah Goldfeder, Laura Dawson, and Eric Miller to ask where we go from here.


IN THE MEDIA

Between Trump, Iran and North Korea, Canada’s G7 has a high potential for chaos

by Chris Hall (feat. James Trottier & Colin Robertson), CBC News, May 18, 2018

The struggle Trudeau could face if Kinder Morgan walks away from Trans Mountain

by Robert Tuttle & Michael Bellusci (feat. Dennis McConaghy), Bloomberg News, May 18, 2018

Canada 'a laughing stock': Experts react to Trans Mountain indemnity

by April Fong (feat. Dennis McConaghy), BNN Bloomberg, May 18, 2018

AUDIO: NAFTA update

with Danielle Smith (feat. Sarah Goldfeder), Global News Radio, May 18, 2018

VIDEO: NAFTA Deadline Day (@ 3:00)

with Don Martin (feat. John Weekes), CTV Power Play, May 17, 2018

VIDEO: Deal or no deal on NAFTA: Canada and U.S. send mixed messages

with Rosemary Barton (feat. Colin Robertson), CBC The National, May 17, 2018

Trump’s 'submission' strategy is not working so expect NAFTA talks to drag on

by Kevin Carmichael (Feat. Eric Miller), Financial Post, May 17, 2018

Backstop deal may be last hope for TransMountain pipeline, says former oil executive

by CBC News (feat. Dennis McConaghy), CBC News, May 17, 2018

Stuck with limited oil export options, Liberals may regret B.C. tanker ban

by John Ivison (feat. Dennis McConaghy), National Post, May 17, 2018

Feds OK early start to construction of navy’s new supply ships

by Lee Berthiaume (feat. Dave Perry), The Canadian Press, May 17, 2018


LATEST TWEETS

HEAD OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Suite 1800, 421-7th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2P 4K9

 

OTTAWA OFFICE
Canadian Global Affairs Institute
8 York Street, 2nd Floor
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1N 5S6

 

Phone: (613) 288-2529
Email: contact@cgai.ca
Web: cgai.ca

 

Making sense of our complex world.
Déchiffrer la complexité de notre monde.

 

© 2002-2018 Canadian Global Affairs Institute
Charitable Registration No. 87982 7913 RR0001

 


Sign in with Facebook | Sign in with Twitter | Sign in with Email