Trudeau says Liberals looking for right NAFTA deal despite looming deadline

Kenneth Smith Ramos

Kenneth Smith Ramos

Chrystia Freeland, Canada's global affairs minister, was in Washington, DC, for talks with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier this week, but the two sides are still negotiating over a handful of issues, including the dairy tariffs.

The official gave no details.

Ottawa and Washington are working to reach an agreement that needs to be submitted to the U.S. Congress before October in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico in August.

"We bet on the preservation" of this character trilateral, but in the opposite scenario, "that can't be ruled out", Mexico will need to go to the next step", that is to say, to work "within the framework of a bilateral agreement" with the United States, said Mr. Guajardo. Republican senators have been highly critical of such a scenario, with some going so far as to suggest Trump does not have legal authority to turn the three-country NAFTA into a bilateral deal between the US and Mexico. Whether Congress is prepared to accept a bilateral deal remains to be seen.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking to legislators of his ruling Liberal Party at a meeting in the western city of Saskatoon, on Wednesday reiterated that he would rather have no NAFTA than sign a bad agreement. "Some in Congress, along side Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, contain rejected Mr. Trump's notion, announcing the proposed deal would now not circulate the Senate except it incorporated Canada, which he described because the United States" "finest trading accomplice".

Canada and the United States are struggling to settle differences over access to the Canadian dairy market and how to resolve trade disputes.

Trump also threatened to drop the "C" if Canada did not make serious concessions in current talks.

"We have seen various deadlines put forward as markers to work for", Trudeau told reporters when asked whether he felt that the end of September was the final deadline. "We've created leverage and driven Canada to the table", the USA official said.

Trudeau's comments came at the end of a caucus retreat aimed at plotting strategy for next week's resumption of Parliament and laying the ground work for the run up to next year's federal election.

"I don't think we've spent much time talking about what the name or potential name or renaming could be", he said.

Mexico hopes that Washington and Ottawa will reach quickly a compromise on the trade agreement Nafta and its chief technical trader has gone to Washington to "continue to advance" on the topic, said on Wednesday the mexican minister of the Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo.

Trudeau said he has given little thought to the name of a renewed trade agreement, focused instead of "a broad range of issues" in talks that "will have a direct impact on Canadians' jobs, on our economic growth and our prospects".

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