Canada's Freeland Postpones UN Speech With Nafta Talks Under Way

Jermaine Castillo
October 1, 2018

Relations between the two neighbors have been strained since Trump assailed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him "weak" and "dishonest".

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said late Friday that the US and Canada were making a renewed push.

"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada".

"Most of the big issues are solved with Canada", Navarro said, adding it would be "a great deal for all three countries".

The text of the existing U.S. -Mexico deal is expected to be published by Sunday, and there have been fears that Congress would be willing to press ahead with the bilateral agreement if Canada can't get a deal done.

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"They [Canadian negotiators] keep me up-to-date and they said we are not there yet but there might potentially be something as early as 6 p.m".

Mexican Senator Ricardo Monreal said on Twitter the text would be released simultaneously in Mexico and the United States. A spokesman for the U.S. Trade Representative's Office declined to comment.

Mr. Trump is using the threat of auto and auto part tariffs as a negotiating tool to persuade Canada to change its stance on trade involving dairy and other provisions in any NAFTA revision or replacement, economists and analysts have said.

After three-way talks stalled this summer, the US and Mexico last month announced they had reached a separate deal.

Reaching a deal would remove a key irritant in the trading relationship between the US and Canada, its top export market.

US, Mexico May Proceed Without Canada — NAFTA Talks
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.

By Monday morning "You'll have some news one way or the other", USA trade adviser Peter Navarro said on Fox News Sunday morning.

If no deal is made, U.S. tariffs on Canada's auto sector - one of its largest industrial sectors - could quickly be put in place, the same source said, though a Canadian official insisted that Washington had made no new threats on tariffs.

The prime minister, the foreign affairs minister, and Canada's ambassador to the USA are leading the Canadian negotiations from Ottawa, as the US and Mexican imposed deadline of September 30 at midnight closes in.

"The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be", the prime minister told reporters in Ottawa.

Auto industry executives say it is unlikely those targets can be met if Canada is not part of the deal, given supply chains that crisscross NAFTA borders multiple times. But the administration's hopes of proceeding with a Mexico-only pact face stiff opposition from leading congressional Republicans and business groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Business Roundtable and the National Association of Manufacturers. They suspected that Canada, which had said it wasn't bound by US deadlines, was delaying the talks until after provincial elections Monday in Quebec, where support for Canadian dairy tariffs runs high. Canadian officials say they never requested a meeting. But at the end of the day, this president is not going to take a deal that's not good for this country. The United States has said Mexico agreed to eliminate a system of settlement panels to arbitrate disputes over anti-dumping and anti-dumping tariffs.

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