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Simon Reisman suspends Canada-U.S. free trade negotiations

The Story

"I am suspending negotiations." With those words Canada's chief negotiator Simon Reisman officially breaks off the talks. Without giving clear details of what went wrong, Reisman tells CBC reporter Mike Duffy that his decision was due to the fact that the U.S. was not responding to "elements fundamental to Canada's position." Reisman insists the free trade agreement is dead. But some say the move is a ploy. Critics say it's a bargaining tactic to send a last minute signal to the Americans that Canada means business. A tired-looking Reisman, showing all of his 68 years, vehemently denies the accusation. The American negotiating team is caught off guard and tell reporters that they'll continue to work towards an agreement.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 23, 1987
Guests: Roger Bolton, Daniel Moynihan, Simon Reisman
Reporter: Mike Duffy
Duration: 2:47

Did You know?

• Simon Reisman had been working as a consultant in the private sector when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney hired him to head the most important trade negotiations in Canada's history. It was rumoured that Reisman's rate was $1,000 per day.

• Peter Murphy had been the U.S. ambassador to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in Geneva. During his post Murphy suffered a serious brain hemorrhage which required him to take a long leave of absence. The FTA negotiation was his first assignment back.


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