Mexican Vote, Trump Bluster, Won't Derail NAFTA Progress: Ottawa

Mexican Vote, Trump Bluster, Won't Derail NAFTA Progress: Ottawa

"We talked about border security, trade, NAFTA, we talked about a separate deal, just Mexico and the United States", Trump says about conversation with newly elected Mexican president Lopez Obrador. "In terms of labour standards and raising wages, I think [he is] going to be much open to that than the outgoing administration, which had a lot of ties to the big business sector".

Trump had enraged Canada and other United States allies by declaring imported steel and aluminium a threat to America's national security and therefore a legitimate target for U.S. tariffs.

Meanwhile, the European Union has warned that if Trump goes ahead with his threats to impose tariffs on cars imported from overseas, they're really gonna hit back hard.

"I have never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as a cause for withdrawing from a friend", she said.

In recent months, Trump has frequently attacked Canadian trade barriers on agriculture - dairy products in particular - as unfairly hurting American farmers. The talks have stalled over several issues, including Trump's insistence on a clause that would end NAFTA every five years unless all three countries agree to sustain it.

Trump said he and López Obrador also discussed the possibility of a separate trade deal exclusively between Mexico and the U.S.

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The White House said on Monday that Canada's decision to enact tariffs on C$16.6 billion ($12.63 billion) worth of American goods in retaliation for USA tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum would not help its economy. The Trudeau government has described Canada's retaliation as dollar-for-dollar, reciprocal tariffs that target steel, aluminum as well as a long list of consumer goods.

The retaliatory tariffs unveiled by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Friday mostly target USA steel and aluminum products, but also hit consumer food products, such as coffee, ketchup and whiskey.

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and interim Ontario Liberal leader John Fraser are among those giving the event a pass, citing trade tensions and ongoing concerns with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump replied Sunday that the European Union "is possibly as bad [on trade] as China, just smaller". The U.S. Commerce Department is expected to hold hearings on auto tariffs in late July and to complete its investigation into auto imports later this summer.

Trump has also asked his staff to prepare a bill that would give him the ability to skirt many World Trade Organization rules that have been in place since 1995, according to a report by Axios confirmed late Sunday by CNN. But as the timelines drag on, Canada's own trip to the polls - now scheduled for October 2019 - is becoming one of the biggest "wild cards", said Ohio-based trade lawyer Dan Ujczo.

"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".

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