Monday, 22 October, 2018

Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed — NAFTA

Trump says he rejected meeting with Canada's Trudeau Trump says he rejected NAFTA meeting with Trudeau; PMO says no request made
Kenneth Drake | 27 September, 2018, 11:14

US President Donald Trump said he rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request for a meeting during the UN General Assembly this week.

"Yeah, I did", he told a news conference in NY when asked by a reporter whether he had rejected a one-on-one meeting with Trudeau.

Chantal Gagnon, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Trudeau, also rejected the claim that the Canadian leader had requested a one-on-one meeting, stating: "No meeting was requested".

President Donald Trump has informed Congress he intends to sign a new deal, with or without Canada, by late November before Mexico's new president takes office. "That's the mother lode, that's the big one".

He added that he and his team does not like Canada's "representative".

"We're thinking about taxing cars coming in from Canada", he said.

"I'm not making it anything near what they want to do", he said.

That appeared to be a reference to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, a former journalist and careful tactician whose star turn in Trudeau's government has earned her deep respect in the Liberal caucus and beyond.


Mexico and Canada have historically been united in opposition against any changes in trade policy with the US, but Mexico's leadership has been reluctant to stall any further progress.

In a direct attack on NAFTA itself, President Trump added: "I don't like NAFTA". "So Canada has a long way to go".

Earlier on Wednesday, Trudeau shrugged off USA pressure to quickly agree to a deal and indicated it was possible the three member nations might fail to conclude a new pact.

"I'm not going to use the name 'NAFTA, '" he said. "We will continue to negotiate with a view to getting a deal that is in Canada's national interest", he said.

But Lighthizer on Tuesday said time was running out for Canada to be included, and Mexico's trade negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos said the two countries are ready to proceed. It's been very bad for the United States.

"If it doesn't happen by the end of the week, we'll just keep working away and trying to get the best deal for Canada", David MacNaughton told a Toronto event arranged by Politico Canada.

The Canadian leader added existing USA 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.

First, there were the comments from US national security adviser John Bolton, who suggested Monday that requests for a bilateral meeting "couldn't be accommodated". "We will put billions and billions of dollars into our Treasury".

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