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Published at on March 9, 2018. Reporting by Daniela Desantis; Writing by Luc Cohen

ASUNCION (Reuters) - South American trade bloc Mercosur formally launched discussions for a trade deal with Canada on Friday, in a move officials said would signal an embrace of free trade at a time other countries are moving toward protectionist policies.

For Canada, the talks with the group, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, come at a time when the future of NAFTA is facing increasing uncertainty.

U.S. President Donald Trump exempted Canada and Mexico from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, though the White House tied the exemption to NAFTA talks. Mexico told Reuters on Thursday it would not yield to pressure.

“We are sending a message to the world,” Canada’s trade minister, François-Philippe Champagne, said at a meeting in Paraguay’s capital. On Thursday, Champagne was in Santiago for the signing of an Asia-Pacific trade deal without the United States, which withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership last year.

Paraguay’s Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said the first meetings would take place later this month in Ottawa, and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Nin Novoa said he expected the pact to close by the end of the year.

The move comes as Mercosur is also seeking to sign a free trade deal with the European Union. The prolonged negotiations had been expected to come to an end last year, but have dragged on amid resistance from European farmers to increased imports of South American beef and biofuels.

Mercosur is the fourth-largest trade bloc in the world, encompassing a population of 260 million. Canada’s overall bilateral trade with Mercosur is worth C$8 billion ($6.24 billion) per year, compared with C$48 billion for the Pacific Alliance countries of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile - all of which have free trade deals with Canada.

Published at on February 7, 2018. Writing by Philip Blenkinsop.

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Mexico believes it can conclude a new free-trade agreement with the European Union before the end of February, a Mexican official close to the talks said on Wednesday.

The EU and Mexico intend to update a trade deal agreed 21 years ago that largely covers industrial goods. They want to add farm products, more services, investment and government procurement, and include provisions on labor standards and environmental protection.

Mexican negotiators are in Brussels this week, with the two sides due to reconvene next week in Mexico.

The Mexican official said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom could come in the week starting Feb. 19 to help push talks to a close and to allow an initial deal to be announced, though only if a deal was within reach.

For full article:

Published at on January 23, 2018. Writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Susan Thomas

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Canada said on Tuesday it would sign onto a revised 11-member Asia-Pacific trade pact after pushing to secure a better deal, underpinning a government drive to diversify exports amid doubts over NAFTA. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters at the World Economic Forum in Davos that he helped push for an improved deal, showing how important the trade file has become for him personally.

But a major labor union and a group representing auto parts manufacturers said the deal would cause job losses.

Trade officials signed off on a final text earlier in the day after a meeting in Tokyo to overcome challenges such as Canada’s insistence on protection of its cultural industries.

For full article:

By Curt Cultice, Senior Communications Specialist, and Jennifer Stone Marshall, Senior International Trade Specialist, U.S. Commercial Service. (originally published in Tradeology, the official blog of the ITA:


Many U.S companies—particularly small and medium-sized businesses—don’t export because they believe it’s too burdensome, or don’t know where to start. How about your company? Are you leaving money on the table by not selling to the 95 percent of world consumers who live outside of the United States?

We can help you find the right export market. The internet, improved logistics options, and the array of available export assistance through the U.S. Commercial Service and federal, state and local partners, has made exporting more viable for even the smallest businesses.

Successful exporting is highly dependent on developing an export plan, or “roadmap.” Many companies begin export activities haphazardly, without carefully screening markets or options for market entry. Without an export plan, the chances of making a costly mistake increases, and better export opportunities are often overlooked. This in turn, can cost your company valuable time, resources and customers.

So, where to start? The U.S. Commercial Service has developed a series of video shorts covering 20 high-profile market destinations. For more information, contact the U.S. Commercial Service in Minnesota!

GDPR Banner     

Do you have customers, clients or employees in Europe? Are you interested in selling to customers in Europe in the future? 

If the answer to either of these questions is yes, join us and learn about how the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) may impact your business when it comes into force in May 2018. Failure to comply with the GDPR could result in stiff fines as high as 4 percent of your company’s overall revenue.

In 2016, the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce launched the EU- U.S. Privacy Shield Framework to provide U.S. companies with a mechanism to comply with EU data protection requirements when transferring personal data from the EU to the United States. Over 2,300 companies use this program to transfer data. Privacy Shield can play an integral role in many companies’ overall GDPR compliance strategy.

On March 23, the U.S. Commercial Service will offer a half-day program to inform and help U.S. companies prepare. Speakers include Isabelle Roccia, Policy Advisor, U.S. Mission to the European Union, Michelle Sylvester-Jose, Privacy Shield Advisor, U.S. Department of Commerce and others.

Click here for more information about this important event


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