Trump rejects meeting with Canada's Trudeau over tariff dispute

30 September, 2018, 19:14 | Author: Emmett Rice
  • Don’t expect a new NAFTA deal this week

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday that negotiators are "sort of running out of time" to include Canada in the trade deal that the U.S. made with Mexico last month.

"That's the mother lode", he said. "That's the mother lode, that's the big one".

The comments also mark a new low in relations between the two leaders.

But they also predicted new talks with Canada in another attempt to settle outstanding issues before the signing with Mexico, which would be set for November 30.

Canadian officials said they do not believe Trump can rework NAFTA into a bilateral deal without the approval of Congress. Instead, he said it could be called "U.S. -M-C" - United States, Mexico and Canada - but that's dependent on the terms of the deal.

"Yeah I did", Trump said during a news conference amid the United Nations General Assembly in NY.

Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the USA wants concessions.

U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft said Wednesday evening that she'd heard Trump's comments about Canada's NAFTA representative.

On Tuesday, Lighthizer - also in NY for the UN General Assembly - said while the two sides remain far apart on a number of issues, the two sides have agreed for now to deal with the issue of 232 tariffs separately.

Trudeau said it wasn't the right time for a chat, since he caught the president while he was reading notes before a toast he was about to give. "Not opining. Not weighing in".

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is due to speak on Thursday, while Canadian gross domestic product data for July is due on Friday.

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In a wide-ranging press conference in NY on Wednesday, Trump also said, "We are very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada".

He is also threatening to place tariffs on cars imported from Canada as trade talks between the two neighbouring countries drag on. A number of lawmakers from both parties have pleaded with the White House to try to ensure Canada remains in the talks.

Trump has used national security as justification for the tariffs, under Sec.

US business groups, alarmed by the potential disruption to the three increasingly integrated economies, have lobbied the White House to keep NAFTA as a trilateral deal.

But Trump didn't seem phased by this.

"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.

"We will put billions and billions of dollars into our treasury, and frankly we'll be very happy, because it's actually more money than you can make under any circumstance with making a deal".

He also repeated the promise that any new trade deal would no longer have the name NAFTA. "I have everybody... so many friends", he said. "I refuse to use it".

TV footage shows Trudeau and Trump shook hands briefly during a luncheon for world leaders at the United Nations headquarters.

Lighthizer insisted that the Trump administration will move forward with a bilateral trade pact with Mexico by September 30, regardless of what Canada does.

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