Ottawa eager to restart NAFTA talks, even if Trump’s in no rush

Outgoing leader Enrique Pena Nieto has had the lowest poll ratings since records began

Outgoing leader Enrique Pena Nieto has had the lowest poll ratings since records began

President Donald Trump intends to delay signing a revised version of the North American Free Trade Agreement until after the fall midterm elections, a move aimed at reaching a better deal with Canada and Mexico.

Punitive levies on dozens of American products in retaliation for U-S tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum are set to kick in today and will impact things such as ketchup, coffee and even playing cards - more than 60 consumer goods adding up to 16.6 billion dollars.

A former Mexican congressman and founding member of a Mexico-based think tank says it's time for Canada to drop the gloves in its trade fight with the United States.

Canada announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the US on Friday.

In an interview on Fox News, Trump once again threatened to impose tariffs on autos, which has been viewed as a NAFTA negotiating ploy. Asked about the timing of an agreement, Trump said: "I want to wait until after the election".

Gomez argued that Mexico's incoming leftist president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, does not have links with big business in the way that outgoing president Enrique Peña Nieto does, and so will not be beholden to business interests in the same way.

Now that Mexico's presidential election is done, Ottawa wants negotiations on the North America Free Trade Agreement to restart as soon as possible, one government official familiar with the plan said on condition of anonymity.

"Canada, you're not going to get 275 per cent for your dairy and you're going to take down all your barriers", he said as an example.

"I certainly understand and sympathize with the Canadian position of Prime Minister Trudeau that if you are going to be faced with a unilateral set of tariffs being imposed by the United States, it's only natural that other nations respond".

A fresh round of talks on the three-country pact will come with Canada and the US locked in an unprecedented, cross-border trade fight. "Everybody said, 'Uh, can we get on to another subject?"'

According to data from the Bureau of Transportation, US freight flows within the NAFTA region totalled US$102.7bn in April, with four of the five major transportation modes carrying more freight by value with Canada and Mexico than a year earlier.

"The president is working to trying to fix the broken system and he's going to continue pushing for that".

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