American Road Map on NAFTA –First Take .

I quickly scanned the document and three things stand out. No doubt there are more :

1. No mention of Forestry. So I guess the soft wood lumber issue will have to be resolved outside this agreement. The only caveat here is that the Americans may interpret their own general wording in the Agreement to capture Foresrty although that does seem like a stretch.

2. The Agriculture provision seems like it will capture the Canadian marketing board issue. This coould be a real thorny issue give that dairy interests in both Canada and the US are very strong.

3. The American desire to eliminate the dispute settlement provision which has really helped Canada and Mexico is sure to be contentious .

Talks are due to start in August. The Americans are hoping to wrap this up by January. Very optimistic in my view and also the view of many watching this file.

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