Canada wants NAFTA review of ’illegal’ U.S. tariffs on solar panels

Mexico's incoming president wants to work with Trump to end NAFTA talks anti-establishment alliance

Canada has requested a NAFTA Chapter 20 review of the safeguard tariffs imposed by the U.S. on imports of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, it was announced on Monday. Freeland said that the USA taxes on Canadian solar panels have impacted businesses and workers on both sides of the border.

Mexico Finance Minister Jose Antonio Gonzalez Anaya said there were still several chapters of NAFTA that had not yet been closed, but that the renegotiation could be completed before incoming President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1 after his landslide victory in this month's election.

The talks had moved slowly and stalled in the run-up to the July 1 presidential election in Mexico, which yielded a landslide victory for veteran leftist Lopez Obrador.

The NAFTA challenge comes as the three countries take a pause from renegotiating the pact, and as Mexico and Canada fight back against punishing USA tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum.

The office of Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had no immediate comment on the letter.

Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum imports were still casting a shadow on NAFTA talks, Morneau said.

Canada and the United States remain deadlocked, however, on the Trump demand for a "sunset clause" that would terminate the deal in five years unless all three countries ratified an extension, the official said.

Trump also wrote that he has directed his team to redouble efforts with members of Lopez Obrador's team to address trade, migration, development and security, four priority issues for both countries.

The negotiations, which had effectively stalled as Canada and Mexico struggled to accommodate US demands for major changes, will resume in Washington on Thursday.

Over the past 18 months, we have seen a marked shift in USA trade policy. Canada is not necessarily a target, but it was the largest foreign supplier of uranium to the U.S.in 2016, accounting for 25 per cent of American imports. Shortly after Mr. Trump's inauguration, the Americans presented the Canadians with what the official described as a back-of-the-napkin agreement that Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law and presidential adviser, had purportedly reached with Mexico's Mr. Videgaray.

He said the answer has less to do with traditional perceptions of threats to national security, and "reveals a more general concern about the impact of the Trump administration on Canadian interests, including our economic interests".

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