US, Mexico May Proceed Without Canada — NAFTA Talks

Jermaine Castillo
September 27, 2018

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.

"If Canada comes along later, then that's what will happen", he said.

"There are things where, basically, we're just not prepared to give in because it would really render the agreement meaningless", MacNaughton said in a public interview with Politico in Toronto.

"We will put billions and billions of dollars into our treasury, and frankly we'll be very happy, because it's actually more money than you can make under any circumstance with making a deal".

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Trudeau was asked about US trade ambassador Robert Lighthizer's recent glum assessment of the talks, which remain deadlocked over issues like dispute resolution, access to Canada's dairy market and the so-called Section 232 tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

"If we push it beyond that date, then we have a new negotiation with Lopez Obrador and we don't know where that would go at all", Lighthizer said.

One of the primary sticking points is a demand from the Trump administration that Canada cut dairy subsidies, a move that would provoke the ire of part of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's political base.

The United States has said it will send Congress the text of a proposed new NAFTA that includes only the United States and Mexico if Canada does not reach a deal by Sunday. "We are looking for the right deal". "A broad range of paths are ahead of us". "It's been long and exhausting, but I think we've narrowed the gap". The decision will fall to congressional leaders, who are generally supportive of free trade and keeping Canada in the pact.

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President Trump confirmed Wednesday he rejected the opportunity to meet privately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The prime minister said it was a quick and cordial encounter and that people shouldn't read too much into it.

The U.S.is moving forward on its bilateral trade deal with Mexico even if Canada is left out because negotiators can't resolve their sharp differences over dairy and a dispute resolution system, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said. The pair shared an awkward handshake on Tuesday, when Mr. Trudeau approached Mr. Trump before a group luncheon. "I think there's a possibility there to build on what they agreed".

"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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