Trump says ‘no political necessity’ to keep Canada in new NAFTA deal

04 September, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Elaine Woods
  • Leon Neal  Getty Images North America

Not surprisingly, Trump's message on Labor Day was just the opposite.

U.S. President Donald Trump warned Congress on Saturday not to interfere with his plans for a new North American Free Trade Agreement, lest he cancel the deal entirely.

"It's pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal", Trumka said on Sunday, noting that the economies of Mexico, the United States and Canada were heavily integrated. Talks between the United States and Canada for revamping the trade deal, which includes Mexico, failed.

Continetti said the key to Trump's recent trade negotiations was concentrating on Mexico and leaving Canada to one side.

Trump wants to get a trade deal finalized by 1 December.

Trilateral trade between the NAFTA countries has exceeded one trillion dollars annually in recent years, according to a 2017 report by the US Congressional Research Service.

"So what we're pushing right now, and we are working with [United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Robert Lighthizer] is, is a way to let us effectively monitor what's going on on the ground and then enforce the agreement, regardless of who's in the White House", he said.

Talks between US and Canadian trade officials broke down Friday after the Toronto Star published off-the-record comments Trump made during a Bloomberg interview.

At the same time, Mr. Trudeau's team refused to bend on a top US demand that Canada end high tariffs on dairy products and protections for lumber and paper industries.

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Trump terminating NAFTA, negotiating with Canada
Under the current conditions, Ottawa essentially faces a take-it-or-leave-it offer, which is based on the US-Mexico trade pact. But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted his government will only sign a deal that's good for Canada.

While the two sides failed to meet a deadline set by the White House, both USA and Canadian negotiators insisted that they were making progress.

"Right now, the US has the negotiating leverage in the negotiating room but Canada has the leverage in terms of Congress, the business community and the general USA public, but that balance will not last forever", Ujczo said.

While that was part of the preliminary deal reached by Mexico and the USA, it follows on proposals made by Canada earlier in the talks.

Continetti pointed out that Trump's willingness to brandish America's economic power is working elsewhere.

The Friday deadline was aimed at getting the deal approved before the December 1 inauguration of Mexico's President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a far-left politician who some fear will scuttle a deal.

The union president also said the current NAFTA deal has had a "devastating effect" on American workers since its inception in 1994. Ottawa does have other complaints. They also announced that they would resume talks on Wednesday after four days of intense negotiations in Washington ended without a final agreement.

But Daniel Ujczo, a trade attorney of the law firm Dickinson Wright in Columbus, Ohio, and others say the flashpoints include trade barriers that protect Canadian dairy farmers and Ottawa's insistence on keeping NAFTA provisions for resolving disputes.

A spokesperson said Trudeau also spoke with Jerry Dias, the president of the Unifor union which represents autoworkers, and Hassan Yussuff, the president of the Canadian Labour Congress. And it's considering slapping tariffs of up to 25 percent on an additional $200 billion in Chinese imports after a public comment period ends Thursday.

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