Trump slams Canada over NAFTA, says rejected Trudeau meeting

Sep 27, 2018, 02:05

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - Freeland's counterpart at the talks - on Tuesday had complained Canada was not making enough concessions and said time was running out.

"Our hope is that Canada comes along and joins that right now".

Asked about the challenge that autos tariffs would pose, Trudeau said Canada would need to feel confident "about the path forward as we move forward - if we do - on a NAFTA 2.0".

The Trump administration has previously set at least four deadlines to conclude NAFTA talks, only to miss all of them and then continue negotiating. Trudeau spokeswoman Chantal Gagnon said: "No meeting was requested".

Sex and the City star Cynthia Nixon splits NY voters
From left, Letitia James, Sean Patrick Maloney, Leecia Eve, and Zephyr Teachout at a debate on August 28 in Manhattan. But the span did not open as planned, as engineers said the old bridge could collapse and endanger the new one.

U.S. President Donald Trump had already reached a deal with his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Pena Nieto, in August.

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.

"We're not getting along at all with their negotiators", Trump said. "And if we could do it in one deal, we'll do it as one deal - if we do it in two deals, we'll do it in two deals". He has invoked Section 232, a previously obscure provision in USA trade law that allows the president to levy tariffs for "national-security" reasons.

Canadian officials have said that despite the USA threats to go it alone with Mexico, they do not believe Trump can by himself turn the 1994 pact into a bilateral deal.

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"On steel and aluminum ... we started off originally trying to have some kind of an overall agreement", he said. The Congress, however, may not approve the revisions if Canada is not to be included in the deal.

Flavio Volpe, the head of Canada's auto-parts industry lobby, said Mr. Lighthizer was moving the goalposts and that Canada should hold the United States to its original promise that a NAFTA deal would mean no tariffs.

"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. "I think it's important to keep North America together, even if it takes more time" he said.

Trudeau also downplayed a brief handshake with Trump at a luncheon Tuesday, where the USA president remained seated despite standing to greet other leaders. "I think our view is now we'll turn to that as a next stage".

Trudeau Insists on Dispute Resolution Mechanism for NAFTA Deal
Both officials said there had been progress in the negotiations last week, which frequently went late into the night. In the US , businesses, farmers, unions and Congress insistent that there must be a three-nation agreement.

"I'm anxious a little bit that time will catch up with us", he said, noting that he had spent more time in Washington working on trade issues than ever before.

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