Trade talks would have run smoother if the U.S. had been more organized, says former ambassador
'They just didn't seem to be prepared,' says Bruce Heyman
A former U.S. ambassador to Canada said that NAFTA negotiations could have been completed in 2017 when none of the three trade partners had elections, but the White House wasn't prepared.
"We could have had an agreement that looked substantially like this, it could have passed the House and the Senate and gotten done in 2017, and we wouldn't even be having this conversation today," said Heyman, who has criticized President Trump's dealings with Canada.
"Now we find ourselves rushing to get this signed by the 30th, because we need the sitting president of Mexico to sign it instead of the new one," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti
"And now the president has lost the House of Representatives, and it's going to be much more complicated for him."
Negotiations over NAFTA were reportedly tense as Canada and the U.S. clashed over key issues. A new deal was announced on Oct. 1, but has yet to be signed. Dubbed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, by Trump, the deal has drawn criticism over steel and aluminum tariffs, dairy sector concessions, and implications for Canada's trade sovereignty.
Heyman doesn't think the delay was a calculated move, but rather a lack of preparation in Washington.
"They just didn't seem to be prepared and everybody I've talked to, who were involved in these negotiations, you know, told me behind the scenes the Americans aren't prepared.
"They're not prepared with all the chapters, they're not prepared with what they want," he recalled being told.
"And they kept changing the rules in the middle of the game."
Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page.
Produced by The Current's Idella Stur