Justin Trudeau says Canadians are tough negotiators

Justin Trudeau says Canadians are tough negotiators

The NAFTA text, either bilateral or trilateral, is due by late Sunday night to meet U.S. congressional notification requirements to allow U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign the pact before Lopez Obrador takes office on December 1.

Under the U.S. Trade Promotion Authority law, known as TPA or "fast track", Mr. Trump must wait 90 days to sign an agreement after notifying Congress of his intention to do so.

The back and forth about the supposed meeting comes amid the USA and Canada's acrimonious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and follows months of souring relations between the two North American neighbors. "As far as we are concerned we want a deal that is good for Canadians and that's the bottom line", Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters in Ottawa.

Trudeau's office didn't respond to requests Wednesday and Thursday about whether the prime minister sought sideline discussions with the president.

But insiders - who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation - say there is no alternative for Canada but to keep trying to settle the differences between the two nations and ignore mounting pressure from the USA administration.

But the Canadian prime minister insists that he remains committed to the talks - and the prospect of a breakthrough. Peter Navarro, director of the National Trade Council at the White House, said during an interview with FOX Business' Neil Cavuto that the current bilateral deal with Mexico will go forward in text form to Congress Sunday at midnight.

Trump's new threat came four days before the U.S. -imposed deadline of September 30 for Canada to provide the U.S. Congress with an updated text of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal.

"I must be honest with you, we're not getting along at all with their negotiators", Trump said.

One person familiar with the two envoys described them as "chalk and cheese": Lighthizer, a mercantilist trade lawyer from the American rust belt, and Freeland, a former globetrotting journalist with a keen interest in foreign policy and multilateralism. "She stands up for Canadians' interests and our workers".

Lighthizer reportedly prefers a more subdued - but forceful - approach to negotiations.

Mexico and the United States announced their own bilateral deal last month, sparking a renewed round of negotiations between Washington and Ottawa to bring Canada into the NAFTA fold.

Sources familiar with the talks say Freeland took part in a lengthy conference call Friday night with negotiators and their US counterparts in Washington, who have been taking part in intensive talks all week. A USTR spokesman declined comment on the timing. "We don't like their representative very much".

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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said that he did not want to "turn your back on Canada", but that for him the negotiation with the United States was reached, and that it would now take a "wait and wish for a compromise between the United States and Canada". According to those present, Craft described the Canadian ambassador as "articulate" and "smart".

"But we won't sign a bad deal for Canada or for Canadians".

The US and Canada remained deadlocked over various trade provisions. Initially, Canada balked at lifting protectionist policies that support its dairy farmers, which heavily taxes imports of cheese and milk.

Trudeau's response to Trump's complaints was to stick to his guns.

In June, the U.S. abruptly lifted Canada's exemption from steel and aluminum tariffs on the grounds of national security - a move which Trudeau described as "insulting".

"The president was using tariffs as a tool to squeeze the Canadians", said Bruce Heyman, former USA ambassador to Canada.

Even so, Lopez Obrador said "the negotiation is not closed" between the United States and Canada, and said he had received information that the Trump administration has made a new counterproposal to Ottawa.

Trump also floated slapping auto tariffs on Canada, which could sow disarray in supply chains, take the wind out of the sails of a resurgent Canadian economy and rattle investors already unnerved by an escalating U.S.

"It means that we're going to stay calm". "I think the Canadians are in a good spot to sit down and make appropriate requests now".

Another sticking point for Canadian officials has been a mechanism that would allow trade arguments - like the tariffs - to be mediated.

"There are things where basically we are not willing to give in to, because it would render the agreement meaningless", MacNaughton told the Toronto audience on Wednesday.

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