Trump suggests Canada sidelined from latest NAFTA talks

Trump suggests Canada sidelined from latest NAFTA talks

The Trump administration doesn't have the legal authority to sideswipe Canada and sign a bilateral trade deal with Mexico, Quebec's chief NAFTA negotiator said August 13.

During the cabinet meeting, Lighthizer told the room he's hoping for a NAFTA breakthrough with Mexico in the coming days.

"I think the Trump administration is playing a risky game if you have a final deal with Mexico and you present it (to Canada) as a fait accompli", said Daniel Ujczo, an global trade lawyer who specializes in Canada-U.S. affairs at the law firm Dickinson Wright.

"I'm in no rush", Mr. Trump said.

"If we don't take advantage of this window of opportunity, it will close towards the end of the month, and the push would lose force and we'd need to look at another calendar" for getting a deal, Kalach said.

Trump appeared to feed that belief during a televised cabinet meeting in Washington on Thursday - on the one-year anniversary of the start of NAFTA's renegotiation.

USA negotiations with Mexico are set to continue Thursday afternoon.

During a televised cabinet meeting Thursday, the US president said his administration isn't negotiating with Canada right now, before adding that its tariffs are too high and barriers too strong.

Negotiators have been working for four straight weeks to hammer out differences with Mexico, largely over provisions affecting the auto industry as they try to update the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, and sign a revised deal before the end of the year.

But both Mexico and the US have strong incentives to push through a deal quickly.

The end of the tariff exclusions strained relationships with Canada, Mexico and the European Union, which responded with retaliatory tariffs on selected USA goods. The Trump administration had excluded the countries from global tariffs on the imports after concluding that the use of foreign-made steel and aluminum made the USA dependent on imports and posed an economic threat to domestic steel and aluminum manufacturers.

At the Senate hearing, it was unclear how far-reaching a preliminary agreement with Mexico could be.

"There are a substantial number of Republicans, including me, who are not likely to vote for any new NAFTA agreement that includes a sunset clause because we don't think it's worth anything", the Tennessee Republican said.

But some observers have argued Canada has been frozen out of critical NAFTA negotiations and could eventually be forced to accept a deal reached between its continental partners. At the same time that Trudeau has fallen from favor with the POTUS, he has been praising Mexico's president-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, stating that "New President of Mexico has been an absolute gentleman".