Nafta: Donald Trump says United States 'not getting along' with Canada

Alicia Cross
September 27, 2018

The top USA negotiator on Tuesday complained Canada was not making enough concessions in bilateral talks to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement and said time was running out before Washington proceeded with a Mexico-only deal.

Momentum appeared to have stalled last week in efforts to bridge differences between Washington and Ottawa in negotiations to rewrite NAFTA, which began a year ago.

"The president's objective is to have deals with Mexico and have a deal with Canada, stated Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin".

"We need a three-way auto agreement", Hinrichs said, noting that the deal struck last month between the United States and Mexico could serve as a basis for a more complete agreement that includes Canada. "If Canada comes along later, then that's what will happen".

"I think Canada would like to be in the agreement, I think the USA would like them in the agreement", he said.

But Ottawa has resisted pressure to meet Washington's self-imposed September 30 deadline for agreeing to terms to revise the 25-year-old trade deal.

"We will keep working as long as it takes to get to the right deal for Canada", Trudeau told reporters when asked about the increasing USA pressure to wrap up the talks.

Lighthizer said negotiators were "sort of running out of time" to finalized the terms by the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

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"I don't think there's anything to read into it", Trudeau said on the brusque handshake, adding that he regularly engages with Trump and had a "very good call" with him just last week.

After a meeting on Monday between US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the two countries agreed to a framework on Tuesday to expand trade, which would include negotiations on tariffs, The Japan Times reported.

Canadian officials have said that despite the US threats to go it alone with Mexico, they do not believe Trump can by himself turn the 1994 pact into a bilateral deal. "We are looking for the right deal".

Trump then repeated his displeasure with Canadian trade officials - "I must be honest, we're not getting along at all with their negotiators" - and accused Canada of taking advantage of the USA for years.

USA automakers and congressional aides now believe a deal with Canada is not possible by the deadline, which they said would most likely prompt the United States to move ahead with a bilateral agreement with Mexico.

The three nations' auto industries are highly integrated and tariffs on Canadian cars would be hugely disruptive.

Under a USA legal process known as Trade Promotion Authority that was invoked to revamp NAFTA, Americans lawmakers need to review the text of the agreement 60 days before President Donald Trump can sign it. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad.

Canadian officials have said, on condition of anonymity, that they are pushing for tariff protection to be part of the deal. "I think our view is now we'll turn to that as a next stage".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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