Published: Thu, September 27, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Nafta: Donald Trump says U.S. 'not getting along' with Canada

Nafta: Donald Trump says U.S. 'not getting along' with Canada

Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, speaks during a news conference at U.N. headquarters during the General Assembly of the United Nations in Manhattan, New York, U.S., September 26, 2018.

Trump also cast serious doubt on ongoing NAFTA negotiations, raising issues with "the negotiating style of Canada".

President Trump's tough stance on fair trade practices has helped secure an agreement with Mexico, and now it's forcing Canada to come to the negotiation table. Canada is represented by a team of NAFTA negotiators led by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said there was "some distance" between the two sides on issues such as access to Canada's dairy market and how best to settle trade disputes.

Talks have become increasingly hostile.

Trump, during the news conference, reiterated his longstanding grievances against NAFTA and job losses, saying the trade pact had been "great for Canada, great for Mexico, very bad for us".

Trump reiterated his threat to apply auto tariffs to Canadian imports if a deal can't be reached.

"His tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move and I've told him forget about it", Trump said of Trudeau. "There are very large issues", Lighthizer said at the Concordia policy summit in NY.

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He did not rule out the possibility of a deal, but made it clear he had little interest in compromising.

"I'm not making it anything near what they want to do", he said. Trump has complained about Canadian tariffs on USA dairy products - and did so again Wednesday - and has called on Congress to pass a trade deal his administration negotiated with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, with or without Canada's participation.

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".

The next day, what appeared to be a brusque encounter between the two leaders - Trump appeared to ignore the prime minister at a United Nations luncheon until Trudeau tapped him on the shoulder, only to shake hands with a still-seated president - sent tongues wagging.

"I don't really see the elements of a deal", said Mark Warner, a Toronto-based trade lawyer. "There are all sorts of opportunities for me to speak to President Trump, and that was not the time". Under U.S. trade law, the administration is required to submit to Congress a finalized, written agreement 60 days before it intends to sign it.

"I think everybody knows what each other's position is on all of the major issues and I think it's really a question of whether or not the US wants to have a deal".

"We're going to go ahead with Mexico", he added. "We think their negotiators have taken advantage of our country for a long time", he said.

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