NAFTA talks make headway but US rejects Canadian auto proposal as poison

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press MONTREAL — The NAFTA train remains on track — for now.The U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer says enough progress has been made over the past week to warrant moving forward with a fresh round of talks in Mexico, but he’s also making it clear that more work needs to be done in the coming weeks.Lighthizer is unsatisfied with Canadian proposals aimed at breaking a logjam on autos, and levelled multiple complaints about Canadian behaviour, including a wide-ranging complaint to the World Trade Organization he described as a “massive attack” on the American trading system.On balance, he sounded like a man willing to give NAFTA a chance.Bits and bytes, not cars and cows, should be front of mind for NAFTA negotiatorsCN downplays exposure risks in event of NAFTA collapse“Some real headway was made here,” Lighthizer said after a week-long round of talks concluded Monday.“The United States views NAFTA as a very important agreement. We’re committed to moving forward. I am hopeful progress will accelerate soon. We’ll work very hard between now and the beginning of the next round — and we hope for major breakthroughs in that period. We will engage both Mexico and Canada urgently, and we will go where these negotiations take us.”Lighthizer’s long-awaited verdict on the sixth round of marathon talks in Montreal came at a public event alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Ildefonso Guajardo of Mexico. The three held a series of face-to-face bilateral meetings before their final closed-door, three-way huddle.It was the first such group appearance since the trio’s memorably tense encounter in the fall.We’ll work very hard between now and the beginning of the next round — and we hope for major breakthroughs in that periodRobert Lighthizer With just eight weeks left in the current schedule of talks — and with U.S. President Donald Trump frequently threatening to blow up the deal — all eyes were indeed on Lighthizer.One prominent stakeholder described Lighthizer’s remarks as purely tactical.“I think he’s a good negotiator,” said Flavio Volpe of the Canadian Auto Parts Manufacturers Association.“I don’t really take a lot of the stuff at face value. But it’s important for us to understand the sentiment. And the sentiment is, ’We’re not satisfied, we’re not going to put our guard down, and we’ll see you in four weeks.”’Dave Reichert, an American lawmaker who spoke with Lighthizer, said he sounded hopeful. But Reichert warned not to expect too much enthusiasm given the U.S. trade representative’s famously gruff style.Important decisions about NAFTA’s future are now in the hands of Trump’s administration. American negotiators passed the baton on Sunday to political decision-makers how to major discussions about autos, dispute resolution and a five-year review clause.The Montreal round represented a new phase for the negotiations.It included a first significant back-and-forth dialogue on autos and other major sticking points. Sources say there were three hours of talks over two days about the autos proposal.Earlier rounds had effectively hit a roadblock because of scant engagement on the most serious files. After the U.S. made proposals that shocked Canada and Mexico, they responded by insulting the U.S. ideas and even devoted one round to describing reasons why the American proposal on cars was so impractical. Numerous participants in the Montreal round were sounding cautiously optimistic in the lead-up to Monday’s closing statements, calling the latest talks less negative and more constructive than recent ones, with the first true dialogue on serious sticking points — autos, dispute resolution and a five-year review clause in particular.But Lighthizer sounded multiple alarm bells.He panned Canada’s proposal on autos, saying it would do the reverse of what was intended, and would lead to more Asian content in North America. He called a Canadian proposal on services trade a poison pill, blasted Canada’s international trade complaint, and demanded a rebalancing of the trade deficit in goods.Freeland and Lighthizer went to great lengths to dispel the notion that the two don’t actually like each other, an impression created by frosty body language and rhetoric that last time the two shared the NAFTA stage last fall.Lighthizer offered smiles and fond memories of vacationing in the Montreal area with his family in the past. Freeland was asked whether her relations with her U.S. counterpart might derail the talks and offered a one-word reply: “No.”“Without being overly optimistic, I am heartened by the progress,” Freeland said, citing the closing of an anti-corruption chapter and other constructive conversations.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media Monday. read more

Winchester public schoolboy hurled Molotov cocktails on to the M3 carriageway

first_imgA former Winchester College pupil brought a motorway to a 12-hour standstill after he threw a “Molotov cocktail” on to the carriageway, a court heard.Nicholas Elger, 17, threw incendiary devices on to the M3, near Winchester, Hampshire, on two separate occasions, causing a full closure of the road for most of Saturday, Sept 23, last year. It is estimated that the damage to the local economy was £40 million.The former boarding pupil at £38,000-a-year Winchester College, one of the country’s oldest public schools, shoplifted the ingredients for his “Molotov cocktail” and a second petrol bomb on two different occasions from a Tesco supermarket in the Hampshire city.He then used the ingredients to create the incendiary devices, which he threw on to the motorway on Sept 16 and then Sept 23 last year.Winchester Crown Court heard Elger wanted to kill somebody during the second homemade bomb attack.The court was told that a lorry driver saw a flaming device fall in front of him and was able to pull over on to the hard shoulder during the first incident.In the second incident, a motorist said the “carriageway was ablaze with flames around the size of a person” and lasted for about 30 seconds. She was able to stop 200ft (60m) from the fire and used her vehicle to block two lanes. However, a lorry using the third lane continued driving and reignited the flames. The motorway was then closed “for a lengthy period”. Cars were stranded in traffic for several hoursCredit:Jonathon Marks/Twitter/PA Rob Welling, prosecuting said: “Both [incendiary devices] were done in different ways. Why he changed his methods is because he was not satisfied with what took place on the first occasion.” He added: “He does not regret the incident – he does regret not doing them differently and successfully and killing someone.”Elger, of Winchester, also blackmailed the headmaster of Winchester College in June last year, on both occasions demanding 10 Bitcoin, worth around £20,000. He had been stealing from the school before blackmailing college officials, demanding payment for the burglaries to stop.Robert Morris, defending, said: “These offences coincided with problems in the family home. Those problems, though significant, cannot possibly explain the change from a kind pleasant boy to suddenly change into this awful risk taking [person] without thoughts of the consequences of his actions. He has been expelled … he has lost his friends and lost the opportunity to go to a top university which he was on course to do.”Psychiatrists believe he might be suffering from a personality disorder or a psychotic illness.Judge Keith Cutler, who removed reporting restrictions which had protected Elger’s identity, imposed an interim hospital order meaning Elger can continue his psychiatric treatment.He will be sentenced on May 18 and the hospital order reviewed.Elger admitted two charges of arson being reckless as to whether life is endangered and a further 12 charges including eight counts of burglary, two of blackmail with menaces, and two for theft.center_img Cars were stranded in traffic for several hours Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

12 foolproof ways to ask someone on a date

first_img Source: Pinterest9. Show them that you’ve been creeping through their phone Source: Pinterest10. Again with the food, always a winner Source: BRIZZLE11. Snapchat? Food? Puns?Skip the date, just marry us.12. Don’t say it, show it. With EmojisThis modern love. Whoops! We couldn’t find this Tweet WE KNOW. WHATEVER happened to just calling someone up and asking them to the cinema?It’s just not good enough any more, that’s what. Here’s what you should be doing these days to woo your other half.1. Bookmark their soppy John Green book Source: k-auhale2. Personalise their Pokemon Red Source: Charlihoney3. Pass them a well thought-out letter Source: the-flaws-inour-stars4. Be ridiculous on Instagram Source: Tumblr5. The classic note, made foolproof Source: Tumblr6. Anyone can be won over with pizza Source: justicelery7. ANYONE Source: Pinterest8. Some food isn’t so effectiveGroan.center_img On the other hand…We may not have a Prom, and should probably be thankful the ever-approaching Debs agreement is usually a mutual nod.Imagine coming home to this? Source: Bailey MccabeThe blatant terror of this? Source: Serena AbleOK, we’re done here Source: Sandy Meadows8 reasons why Irish people are hopeless at dating>8 ways you tried to tell someone you fancied them>last_img read more