Published: Thu, September 27, 2018
Markets | By Erika Turner

Canada PM says won't be rushed on NAFTA, new deal not guaranteed

Canada PM says won't be rushed on NAFTA, new deal not guaranteed

Trump then repeated his displeasure with Canadian trade officials - "I must be honest, we're not getting along at all with their negotiators" - and accused Canada of taking advantage of the USA for years.

Speaking to reporters at the United Nations General Assembly, President Trump said: "His tariffs are too high, and he doesn't seem to want to move and I've told him forget about it, and frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada".

"That's the mother lode", he said.

After meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, Trump announced his support for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, Axios reports.

The prime minister made the comment after being asked about USA 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.

"We're unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style from Canada", he said.

"One of the things in my many conversations with President Trump on the issue of 232 tariffs ... was his insistence that while if we renegotiate NAFTA, if we get to a NAFTA deal, there will be no need to worry about these other things", Trudeau said at the UN.

President Trump confirmed Wednesday he rejected the opportunity to meet privately with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The 2 nations have been locked in negotiations for a year on a rewrite of the 25-year-old continental trade deal that Trump blames for losses of United States jobs and industry.

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A senior Canadian official told CBC News the Trump comments should be seen in the context of the continuing negotiations.

He also mentioned another tough issue, American demands for greater access to Canada's supply-managed dairy market.

"We're going to go ahead with Mexico", he added. He said that Canada is not making concessions in areas of the supposed updated North American Free Trade Agreement that they might as well carry on with Mexico alone.

"We are not getting along with their negotiators", he said.

The Canadian leader added existing U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminium, which were implemented in late May, would have to be scrapped before Canada felt confident in signing a new NAFTA agreement.

Lighthizer said that there "is still a fair amount of distance between" the USA and Canada.

He also repeated the promise that any new trade deal would no longer have the name NAFTA. Talks look set to stretch past the next deadline, Sunday, when the US wants to publish text of its deal with Mexico.

Even if Canada is left out of the agreement initially, it could potentially enter later, Lighthizer said. Officials in the PMO insisted no such request had been made, given already close contact with the White House. Trudeau's office declined further comment.

Relations between the two neighbours have been strained since Trump assailed Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him a "weak" and "dishonest" back-stabber.

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