Trump claims he rejected Trudeau meeting at United Nations

Trump claims he rejected Trudeau meeting at United Nations

President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked him during a Thursday phone call "to intervene and call on the US government to reach an agreement" with Canada on the renegotiation of NAFTA.

US President Donald Trump has been pushing for a complete overhaul of the 25-year-old trade deal, which he says has been a "rip-off" for the United States.

"Canadians have told us they want us to negotiate a good deal for Canada, and that's precisely what we've been doing since the beginning", he said.

Canada's Liberal government says it does not feel bound by the latest NAFTA deadline, and it repeated on Friday that it would not bow to USA pressure to sign a quick deal.

The text of the existing U.S. -Mexico deal is expected to be published by Sunday, and there have been fears that Congress would be willing to press ahead with the bilateral agreement if Canada can't get a deal done.

Trump says he will pursue a trade deal with or without Canada, and has repeatedly threatened to impose punitive tariffs on Canadian automobiles if a trilateral deal can't be reached.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, Canada's chief NAFTA negotiator, opted to push back her planned Saturday speech before the UN General Assembly until Monday so she could concentrate on trade matters.

Ottawa and Washington remain at odds over Canada´s managed dairy sector, and the dispute resolution provisions in NAFTA.

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

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But a Mexican source close to the talks said that in exchange for this, the United States agreed to drop a demand for tariffs to protect USA seasonal produce growers. People familiar with the trade talks say he prefers dealing with Freeland instead of Canada's chief trade negotiator, Steve Verheul.

"They're moving towards closing the deal - it's really not a question of if, it's a question of when", said Daniel Ujczo, an Ohio-based worldwide trade lawyer at Dickinson Wright who represents large USA automakers and auto-parts manufacturers. The U.S. has indicated that it is prepared to move forward with the deal, whether it's a bilateral or trilateral text they submit for Congress to review.

The agreement between Mexico, the United States and Canada, as the us president, Trump has called it "a disaster" is in renegotiation since 2017. While the USA and Mexico have tentatively agreed to a revised trade deal, Canada has been reluctant to sign on.

The two sides are talking continuously by phone and a Canadian government source said the tone of the negotiations was positive and intense.

Among other things, the negotiators are battling over Canada's high dairy tariffs.

"Frankly, we're thinking about just taxing cars coming in from Canada", Mr. Trump said at a press conference earlier this week.

More recently, Canada has pushed back on any new deal that would not provide explicit protections from U.S. tariffs on steel and protections from punitive tariffs on autos.

Trump blames NAFTA for causing USA manufacturing jobs to move to low-wage Mexico and is demanding major changes. Wyden is from OR, a state that trade more with Canada than Mexico.

One big uncertain question for USA and foreign automakers is whether US tariffs on Canadian steel will be lifted. "But the USA position is that the deadline is very real and there will be consequences for missing it". The USTR's office reached out to automakers over the weekend to seek input about how the cap will work and how the vehicle quota will be apportioned, an auto industry executive briefed on the matter said.

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