September 25, 2018
Canada is not making concessions needed to reach a deal with the United States for a trilateral NAFTA pact and is running out of time before Washington proceeds with a Mexico-only agreement, a top U.S. official said today.
The administration of President Donald Trump has recently begun increasing the pressure on Canada, urging it to conclude a deal by Sept. 30 or face exclusion from a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told Reuters there was “some distance” between the two sides on issues such as access to Canada’s dairy market and how best to settle trade disputes.
“The fact is, Canada is not making concessions in areas where we think they’re essential,” Lighthizer said at the Concordia Summit in New York. “We’re going to go ahead with Mexico,” he said. “If Canada comes along now, that would be the best. If Canada comes along later, then that’s what will happen.
“We’re sort of running out of time.”
Trump has demanded major changes to NAFTA, which he says caused U.S. manufacturing jobs to move to low-wage Mexico. Markets are nervous about the impact on a deal that underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade.