Trump can't reach NAFTA deal without Canada: Quebec chief negotiator

NAFTA talks with Mexico drag on due to autos sticking points - Autoblog

Trump did not clarify in his tweet whether he referred to the ongoing renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with his two neighbors or to individual negotiations on other commercial aspects.

U.S. President Donald Trump issued a fresh warning that he would slap auto tariffs on Canada if NAFTA talks fail. There have been warnings Canada could be put in a position where it might have to accept a deal reached between the USA and Mexico.

At the same time, relations with Canada have been tense since June's G7 meeting in Quebec, when President Trump renounced support for the Summit's communique and took direct aim at Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for promising to stand up to USA tariffs. "Autoworkers and farmers must be taken care of or there will be no deal", President Trump tweeted, adding that incoming Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador "has been an absolute gentleman".

The president said over the weekend that Canada's tariffs and taxes are far too high and repeated threats to tax the auto industry if a deal can't be reached.

Officials now are rushing to conclude the talks before Mexico's Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1. "Will tax cars if we can't make a deal!" he said. After all, auto tariffs could plunge Canada into a recession and put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a vulnerable position ahead of 2019 elections. It seems that new sticking points have emerged over Trump's threat to impose steep automotive tariffs.

"The US and Mexico, which have been in bilateral negotiations for about three weeks, appear to be getting close" to agreement over auto manufacturing, David MacNaughton said in an interview on BNN Bloomberg television.

"We're glad Mexico and the USA continue to work out their bilateral issues".

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo told reporters in Washington on Friday his talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer would resume next week, but there were still many bilateral issues to work out before Canada could rejoin the talks. The level of confrontation in the pair's auto negotiations has decreased since Washington dropped a demand for a US content requirement, but Ottawa is gearing up for more contentious fights.

"The next obvious question is, do we have a firm date of Canada physically going to join the talks?" (These are a relatively small percentage of total USA auto imports.) But if the United States' immediate neighbors can rest relatively easily, South Korea, Japan and the European Union all face sleepless nights ahead.

The source added that Freeland and David MacNaughton, Canada's ambassador to the USA, remain in regular contact with relevant officials from the US and Mexico.

MacNaughton said in an interview last week that predictions NAFTA can be settled by the end of August are "aspirational".

MacNaughton has listed some of those stubborn areas.



Other news