September 27, 2018
Canada on Thursday shrugged off U.S. President Donald Trump’s criticism that talks to modernize NAFTA were moving too slowly and made clear it had to keep negotiating as long as there was a chance of success.
The prospects for a quick deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement appeared to dim on Wednesday after Trump blasted Canada’s stance and threatened to impose tariffs on cars imported from Canada, according to Reuters.
“The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be,” Trudeau told reporters on the way into a regular weekly cabinet meeting in Ottawa. “But a good fair deal is still very possible. We won’t sign a bad deal for Canadians,” he added, saying his office had not requested a private meeting with Trump. He declined to answer when asked whether Trump had lied.
The United States has imposed a Sept. 30 deadline for Canada to agree to the text of a new NAFTA. The 1994 deal underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
Canada, which sends 75 per cent of its goods exports to the United States, is vulnerable. The Canadian dollar weakened to its lowest in more than two weeks against the U.S. greenback early on Thursday before recovering slightly.
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 U.S. administration.
“Plan A, B, C and D is NAFTA. If the government listened to everything the Trump team said about the negotiations we’d never get anything done,” one source with direct knowledge of Ottawa’s stance told Reuters.
Washington has already wrapped up a deal with Mexico, the third NAFTA member, and is due to publish the text on Friday.