NAFTA deal ‘meaningless’ without protection from Trump auto tariffs, Canadian ambassador says

NAFTA: Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed

During a rare press conference today, President Donald Trump was asked by a Fox News reporter if he'd rejected a one-on-one meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada", Trump said in a news conference on Wednesday.

Trump said Mexico has been "totally great" in negotiating trade with the U.S. "That's the mother lode, that's the big one".

"The United States moving ahead without Canada shows that Canada may be left out altogether", said Adam Button, a currency analyst at ForexLive.

While the talks have been "challenging", the ball is on the USA side of the court, MacNaughton said at an event in Toronto hosted by the US website Politico.

For the first time, Ambassador David MacNaughton identified such tariff protection as a critical Canadian demand in the continuing North American Free Trade Agreement talks, alongside the preservation of NAFTA's "Chapter 19" independent panel system for resolving trade disputes.

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Trump criticized the Canadian trade delegation for not striking a revised NAFTA deal, and in particular said he doesn't "like very much" its chief negotiator, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

President Trump suggested that a potential U.S. -Mexico-Canada trade deal could be called USMC.

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"Frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada", Trump said.

In a direct attack on NAFTA itself, President Trump added: "I don't like NAFTA".

Trump's remarks came just a day after an awkward encounter between him and Trudeau at the United Nations, with Trump appearing to ignore Trudeau at a luncheon until the prime minister tapped him on the shoulder and shook hands, with Trump still seated all along.

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Returning to criticizing Canada, he ripped America's neighbor to the north for a long-imposed tariff of almost 300 percent on some dairy products.

"I don't like NAFTA". "Our hope is that Canada comes along and joins that right now".

"Canadians, we're polite, we're reasonable, but we also will not be pushed around", Trudeau said at the time.

"I don't really see the elements of a deal", said Mark Warner, a Toronto-based trade lawyer.

McNaughton suggested the two sides were deadlocked over US demands to scrap NAFTA's Chapter-19 mechanism for resolving anti-dumping and anti-subsidy disputes, the continued imposition of American "national-security" tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum, and the threat of tariffs on auto exports from here. Supporters of Mexico's incoming government, which takes office December 1, are not especially fond of NAFTA, which is why both countries want the deal done before then.

First, there were the comments from USA national security adviser John Bolton, who suggested Monday that requests for a bilateral meeting "couldn't be accommodated".

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