Here’s why Justin Trudeau says the Americans are finding NAFTA talks ‘tough’

Alicia Cross
September 28, 2018

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he didn't request a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump while the two leaders were in NY this week for the United Nations General Assembly.

Referring to Trudeau, Trump said Wednesday: "His tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move".

It was those attempted discussions that Trump was referring when he said he refused to meet Trudeau, the official said, rather than a request for a formal bilateral sit-down meeting, which the Canadians said they did not make.

The two nations have been locked in negotiations for a year on a rewrite of the 25-year-old continental trade deal that Mr Trump blames for losses of United States jobs and industry.

"That's the motherload, that's the big one", Trump told reporters.

But Mr Lighthizer on Tuesday said time was running out for Canada to be included, and Mexico's trade negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos said the two countries are ready to proceed.

"And, frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada", he said. "I have everybody... so many friends", he said.

Hours earlier, in New York, Trudeau gave Canada's NAFTA-talks nemesis a gentle nudge during his own closing news conference that followed the General Assembly.

"If it doesn't happen by the end of the week, we'll just keep working away and trying to get the best deal for Canada", David MacNaughton told a Toronto event arranged by Politico Canada.

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That came after the incident on Tuesday in which Mr Trump appeared to rebuff Mr Trudeau when he approached to shake hands, even though the Canadian leader downplayed the incident.

While the talks have been "challenging", the ball is on the US side of the court, MacNaughton said at an event in Toronto hosted by the USA website Politico.

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 don't like their representative very much".

A Trump administration official said the text of the agreement with Mexico was set to be published on Friday.

Washington and Mexico City last month announced agreement on a new trade pact, but a separate track of intensive talks with Canada have so far failed to produce results.

Trudeau also says the Americans are finding NAFTA talks hard because Canadians are "tough negotiators".

"They (the United States and Mexico) made certain agreements", he said. "How do you sell a dairy product at 300 percent?"

He also repeated the promise that any new trade deal would no longer have the name NAFTA. "We will put billions and billions of dollars into our Treasury".

Speaking separately, Canada's ambassador to Washington said that on a scale of 1 to 10, the chances of an agreement by the September 30 deadline were 5.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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