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Having handled various “robust points” this week in Washington, International Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is leaving her NAFTA negotiators to work across the clock within the U.S. capital whereas she flies dwelling to host a world assembly of feminine international ministers in Montreal.

“We mentioned some robust points as we speak,” Freeland mentioned Thursday afternoon. “The ambiance continues to be constructive and we proceed to work arduous in the direction of a deal, which has all the time been Canada’s goal.”

Freeland mentioned that since this most up-to-date spherical of negotiations started, negotiators have been working across the clock to search out compromises on the remaining points. Regardless of the stress to satisfy a U.S.-imposed deadline —​ the American aspect desires a deal inside days as a way to meet U.S. commerce regulation timelines and get the ultimate doc signed by Mexico’s outgoing authorities —​ Freeland maintained that her focus had not modified.

“Canada has, from the very starting, been guided by a single metric and we proceed to be guided by that single metric as we speak, and that metric is getting a deal that’s good for Canada and good for Canadians. That’s our goal,” she mentioned. 

Freeland will likely be away from the NAFTA desk Friday, as she is scheduled to be in Montreal to host a summit of feminine international ministers.

This week’s talks are being described by a number of sources with direct data of the state of affairs as “tense,” “frank” and “gradual,” particularly on the numerous points.

And new challenges are rising because the Canadians search for safety from the specter of American tariffs.

One senior supply mentioned Canada is looking for assurances from U.S. commerce officers that will probably be acknowledged as a particular buying and selling associate, as a defend towards what the Canadians say are punitive tariffs.

The bizarre transfer comes after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed 25 per cent tariffs on metal and 10 per cent on aluminum by way of a hardly ever used nationwide safety provision.

The bigger concern is Trump’s menace to slap related tariffs on imported autos and auto elements. If that have been to occur, economists say, the North American economic system would grind to a close to halt and 1000’s of jobs could be killed.

Trump makes use of tariffs as a ‘toy’

The supply mentioned the Canadians acknowledge the People won’t ever agree to limit their potential to guard their nationwide safety pursuits. However Canada continues to be looking for a carve-out of protections towards the specter of American tariffs ​and recognition that Canada isn’t seen as a menace.

Canada has not been capable of get any assurances, with the supply suggesting Trump enjoys counting on tariffs, treating the financial measure like a “toy.”

There additionally has been little motion behind the scenes on Chapter 19.

Canada desires to maintain the impartial dispute decision system within the North American Free Commerce Settlement, whereas the People have formally requested or not it’s eradicated.

The supply mentioned it has been made clear that U.S. Commerce Consultant Robert Lighthizer “personally hates” Chapter 19, because it has lengthy been a supply of frustration for the ambassador.

Protections for Canada’s dairy business are additionally nonetheless some extent of rivalry.

Canadian negotiators have proposed giving U.S. farmers extra entry to the Canadian market, however options up to now haven’t glad American negotiators.

The People, who reached an settlement in precept with Mexico final month, are pushing to get a take care of Canada earlier than Oct. 1 — a deadline set in hopes of hitting the congressional timeline required for a renegotiated NAFTA to be signed earlier than Mexico’s presidency adjustments palms on Dec. 1.

Sources have repeatedly informed CBC Information the Canadians are keen to work on that timeline, however is not going to be rushed into a quick end for the sake of reaching a self-imposed deadline.

Fears for staff

“My greatest worry in all of that is that we do not discover a tender spot that we will all reside with and staff in all three international locations find yourself paying the value,” mentioned union chief Jerry Dias, additionally in Washington to watch the talks. His union, Unifor, is Canada’s largest personal sector union and represents auto staff.

Dias mentioned that quite a lot of consideration within the talks has been centered on Canada’s de minimis stage — the value stage at which customers need to pay duties and taxes on imported items, whether or not by way of bringing objects again on a visit or ordering them on-line and having them delivered by mail or courier.

Within the U.S., that stage is about at $ 800 US. Mexico already has agreed to double its threshold from $ 50 to $ 100 US. Canada’s stage stands at $ 20.

Regardless of the continuing debate about this challenge and others, Dias mentioned that progress has been made on behalf of staff.

“Commerce offers have all the time been about free stream of capital. It is all the time been about cash, it is by no means been about individuals.,” mentioned Dias.

“This spherical of negotiations, we have really had respectable discussions about individuals, about jobs, about way of life, about wages in Mexico. So there’s been a whole lot of nice work carried out and my solely concern is that someway the nice work will get flushed due to nice stubbornness and stupidity.”

International Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to reporters in Washington zero:55

The Financial institution of Nova Scotia will now not use the Ombudsman for Banking Providers and Investments to mediate disputes with its prospects, leaving the banking watchdog with simply two of Canada’s 5 large banks below its thumb. 

Scotiabank has suggested OBSI that it’s going to now not use its companies to mediate complaints with its retail banking prospects as of Nov. 1, and can as a substitute select to resolve them by way of different means.

“We’re disenchanted with the financial institution’s resolution, however we perceive that, below present banking guidelines, they’ve the suitable to make the selection,” OBSI spokesperson Mark Wright stated.

When it was based greater than 20 years in the past, OBSI was pitched as a extra environment friendly approach for the monetary business to resolve comparatively small disputes with its prospects, and deal with complaints which can be finest processed outdoors the authorized system.

When financial institution prospects have a gripe a couple of financial institution, they’ll most definitely first complain to the financial institution itself, however OBSI will get concerned as soon as it has been escalated up the chain, and desires an neutral mediator to resolve on an applicable treatment.

Final 12 months, OBSI beneficial complete of $ 165,zero23 be given to folks with complaints about banks, with a mean discovering of $ 2,089 and the biggest single advice coming in at $ 17,653. Whereas its rulings are non-binding, it might levy particular person awards of as much as $ 350,000 and may title and disgrace monetary companies who select to disregard their selections on its web site. Final 12 months, not one of the large banks ignored an OBSI ruling, the watchdog stated.

Regardless that it’s funded by business (the large banks paid greater than $ 1.1 million final 12 months to fund OBSI’s operations) the watchdog is taken into account to be an impartial company, and it is a free service for upset shoppers. 

In its most up-to-date annual report, OBSI says it dealt with 370 investigations from shoppers about their banks final 12 months, or somewhat multiple per day. That was up from 290 complaints filed in 2016. 

Final 12 months, OBSI dominated in favour of shoppers roughly one out of each 5 occasions it heard a case. In 2017:

  • OBSI obtained 131 complaints about Scotiabank, and the ombud sided with the shopper in 23 of these instances.
  • OBSI obtained 77 about CIBC, and dominated with the shopper in 13 of them.
  • OBSI heard 52 complaints concerning the Financial institution of Montreal, and sided with the shopper in 13 of them.

These numbers do not embrace complaints from Canada’s two largest banks, Royal Financial institution and Toronto-Dominion, which each opted out of utilizing OBSI years in the past. As an alternative, they use one other third-party agency to resolve disputes, known as ADR Chambers Banking Ombuds Workplace or ADRBO.

John Lawford, govt director of shopper rights group the Public Curiosity Advocacy Centre, stated Scotiabank’s resolution to go away the group is disappointing, as a result of it is one other physique blow to an company that might be highly effective instrument for shoppers.

“It is not excellent however it’s open, it is clear, it is impartial and it is honest to the extent it may be,” he stated.

“It is not toothless,” Lawford stated, “if folks gave it an opportunity it would not be.”

Whereas Lawford stated he’d be in favour of a banking dispute decision physique that is totally funded and managed by authorities and never beholden to the business, the federal government has repeatedly shied away from taking that step. 

“The most effective we are able to do is shove all people again below the one umbrella [so] folks will know the place to take their complaints,” he stated.

Within the absence of a completely impartial physique, Lawford stated he’s in favour of giving extra powers of enforcement to OBSI, as a result of he does not like the dearth of transparency at options reminiscent of ADRBO, which “does not adhere to the identical openness ideas,” and is not at all times clear about resolution particulars, he stated.

“For these prospects of Scotiabank, they’ll sadly I consider have much less success with their banking complaints and be dissuaded from bringing them.”

Scotiabank’s resolution additionally impacts prospects of Tangerine, the web financial institution that Scotiabank purchased in 2012, when it was often called ING.

The transfer additionally implies that of the large 5 banks, solely Financial institution of Montreal and CIBC will stay below OBSI’s umbrella for his or her retail banking operations as of November — though prospects of Scotiabank’s funding arms would nonetheless be free to complain to OBSI.

“I am involved as a result of I do not see any rational cause … why BMO and CIBC would not comply with them out the door inside months,” Lawford stated.

“We nonetheless suppose OBSI is impartial and a correct place to do it and all people ought to be going there.”

Scotiabank declined to remark to CBC Information for this story, or present any indication how they plan to mediate escalated shopper disputes on its retail banking facet in future.

Canada might have declared conflict on American-made ketchup, however has given its sidekick, mustard, a reprieve.

Mustard made the proposed checklist of retaliatory tariffs on U.S. items, however the federal authorities dropped it simply earlier than the tariffs took impact July 1, reducing Canadian mustard seed farmers a break.

A number of business teams petitioned Ottawa to get sure gadgets taken off its hit checklist. And whereas boats, dishwashers and ketchup imported from the U.S. nonetheless face a 10 per cent tariff, the cries of Canada’s mustard foyer had been apparently heard. (The federal government would not touch upon the specifics of its choice.)

Canada is the world’s largest producer of mustard seed, because of ideally suited rising situations within the Prairies. (Mike McCleary/Related Press)

The business feared the mustard tariff might have pushed down costs for mustard seed exports to its largest buyer, the U.S. — or, even worse, that america would retaliate with tariffs on Canadian mustard seed.

“The individuals who could be hurting as a lot as anybody in all of this might have been the Canadian farmers,” mentioned Dave Macfarlane, a board member with the Canadian Particular Crops Affiliation.

“We had been fairly relieved to see that it got here off the checklist and that the federal government listened to our logic.”

Tops in mustard seed

Canada is the world’s largest producer of mustard seed, because of ideally suited rising situations within the Prairies. It is additionally the world’s largest exporter. In 2017, Canada offered $ 120 million value of mustard seed overseas, greater than half of it going to the U.S.

We then purchase again the completed product. French’s — the top-selling mustard model in Canada — is manufactured within the U.S., however it’s made fully with Canadian-grown mustard seed.

French’s mustard offered in Canada sports activities a maple leaf to promote that it is made fully with Canadian mustard seeds. (CBC)

Maryland-based McCormick, which owns French’s, declined to touch upon Canada’s transfer to drop the mustard tariff. However mustard seed farmers are speaking, expressing reduction the condiment is now not a commerce conflict goal.

“It is excellent information,” mentioned Kevin Hursh, who has a farm close to Cabri, Saskatchewan.

“They may have damage us much more with a tariff on uncooked mustard seed than we’re ever going to have an effect on them with a tariff on ready mustard.”

Kevin Hursh grows mustard seed at his farm close to Cabri, Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Kevin Hursh)

Why do not we make extra?

Contemplating the Prairies are overflowing with mustard seed, why is Canada sending a lot of it overseas as an alternative of processing it at residence?

“We’re good at rising it after which we’re excellent at delivery it away,” mentioned Ross McKenzie, a retired analysis scientist with the Alberta authorities. “We purchase it again at a pleasant premium after it is all been manufactured.”

Canada is residence to only a handful of boutique mustard makers.

We do, nonetheless, have large-scale ketchup manufacturing in Canada.

French’s Canadian regional supervisor, Brooke Gilliford, reveals off the corporate’s plant arrange final yr in Toronto to provide homegrown ketchup. (Jacqueline Hansen/CBC)

When Heinz offered its Leamington, Ont., plant in 2014 and moved its ketchup operations to the U.S., McCormick scored a public relations win by sourcing Leamington tomatoes and ultimately establishing a French’s ketchup processing operation in Toronto.

Nonetheless, the corporate hasn’t moved any mustard manufacturing to Canada, although its 2017 Canadian retail gross sales for French’s mustard had been $ 43.9 million — nearly 4 instances its ketchup gross sales, in accordance with market analysis firm Euromonitor Worldwide.

“It’s one thing we are going to proceed to evaluate,” McCormick Canada spokesperson Stefan Harvalias mentioned in an e-mail, including that the corporate solely not too long ago acquired the French’s model.

What in regards to the French?

In line with Euromonitor, Canada’s second-best-selling mustard model is Maille. It is produced in France — with 60 per cent Canadian mustard seeds.

The model mentioned it’s a necessity to make the mustard in France due to the nation’s experience and components. “For greater than 270 years, La Maison Maille has been producing Dijon mustards and vinegars with a know-how, craftsmanship and human contact,” mentioned Maille in an e-mail. 

Maille mustard is made in France with 60 per cent Canadian mustard seeds. (CBC)

Macfarlane, with the Canadian Particular Crops Affiliation, says it is typically cheaper for giant corporations to consolidate international manufacturing. “They’ll do it extra economically in a giant manufacturing facility, the place they’re pumping out tonnes of it.”

He mentioned Canadian mustard corporations compete by providing one thing completely different — specialty mustard made on a a lot smaller scale. 

“You are making it in small batches; you make it and promoting it at a better value than the commodity stuff, and satisfying prospects with some distinctive issues.”

Kozlik’s Mustard — manufactured in Toronto — is understood for flavours corresponding to triple crunch which is made with three forms of Canadian mustard seeds and home whisky. The corporate has eight full-time staff, and its product will be present in shops throughout Canada, together with Entire Meals.

Jeremy Kessler’s firm, Kozlik’s, manufactures its mustard in Toronto. (Submitted by Jeremy Kessler)

Proprietor Jeremy Kessler says cracking the Canadian market is hard, particularly when huge grocers demand 1000’s of in charges simply to get one product line on retailer cabinets.

“The larger producers, the blokes who’ve been in enterprise rather a lot longer and are rather a lot larger, can afford to pay all these charges.”

Kessler says he needs the Canadian authorities provided extra assist for small gamers like him within the type of advertising and marketing or monetary help.

“I haven’t got a motive why extra is not accomplished,” he mentioned.