Justin Trudeau says Canadians are tough negotiators

Jermaine Castillo
September 28, 2018

US President Donald Trump confirmed on Wednesday (Sept 26) that he had refused to meet Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, accusing Canada of treating the United States "very badly".

"Yeah I did", Trump said. "And I've told him, 'Forget about it"'.

"We've very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada". A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office declined to comment. "I have so many friends ... but that has nothing to do with this".

Well it could mean a US-Canada trade spat, auto tariffs and other problems.

President Donald Trump's administration will nearly certainly fail to meet this weekend's deadline for including Canada in a new North American trade agreement, The Washington Post reports.

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

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President Trump confirmed Wednesday he rejected the opportunity to meet privately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The decision will fall to congressional leaders, who are generally supportive of free trade and keeping Canada in the pact.

President Trump said the U.S.is not getting along with the Canadian negotiators "at all".

Speaking to reporters this morning in Ottawa, Trudeau disputed Trump's statement - insisting Canada did not request a meeting with the president this week.

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.

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The US administration has recently turned up the heat on Canada, trying to push for a concluded deal by this Sunday or else Canada risks being left out of a revised NAFTA agreement.

He has also repeatedly threatened to walk away from the talks rather than sign on to a deal which would be bad for Canada. "We're going to tax the cars that come in", he said.

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Trudeau's interactions with the mercurial US president have been a subject of great curiosity over the course of his three days at the General Assembly. "But it will probably or possibly be just USM", he said suggesting it will likely only include the USA and Mexico. Officials in the PMO insisted no such request had been made, given already close contact with the White House.

Relations between the Canadian and USA leaders have been chilly since June, when Trump left a Group of Seven summit in Canada and then accused Trudeau of being dishonest and weak.

"I love Canada, by the way", he said. "It was an interaction like so many are (at the) United Nations - quick but cordial".

The NAFTA impasse can't be helping matters, either.

The White House now plans to submit a new proposed trade agreement between the USA and Mexico for Congress to begin reviewing as soon as this week. He said previous USA negotiators "didn't know what they were doing". Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the USA wants concessions.

USA producers actually sell more dairy product to Canada than they import, and the 300 per cent tariff only applies to goods above the quota, which the United States does not meet, according to trade experts.

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"We'll see where it goes, but so far it's been tough", he said.

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