Trump claims he rejected Trudeau meeting over Nafta frustrations

28 September, 2018, 01:07 | Author: Mary Valdez
  • Trump Confirms Rejecting Trudeau's Meeting Invite: 'I Told Him 'Forget About It''

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted Canada over the slow pace of NAFTA talks, saying he was so unhappy that he had rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request for a one-on-one meeting.

Trudeau said the deal between the USA and Mexico raises the "possibility" of Canada signing on, but that he's standing up for Canadian interests in negotiations.

"Yeah, I did", he told a news conference in NY when asked by a reporter whether he had rejected a one-on-one meeting with Mr Trudeau.

The US administration has recently turned up the heat on Canada, trying to push for a concluded deal by this Sunday or else Canada risks being left out of a revised NAFTA agreement.

"If we don't make a fair deal for the USA after decades of abuse, Canada will be out", Trump tweeted.

Canadian officials have said that despite the US threats to go it alone with Mexico, they do not believe Trump can by himself turn the 1994 pact into a bilateral deal. "(Trudeau's) tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move".

Relations between the two neighbours have been strained since Trump assailed Trudeau at the G-7 meeting in June, calling him a "weak" and "dishonest" back-stabber.

"Yeah, I did", Trump said.

"I still think there is a reasonable probability of a deal this weekend", said Greg Anderson, global head of foreign exchange strategy at BMO Capital Markets.

He has also repeatedly threatened to walk away from the talks rather than sign on to a deal which would be bad for Canada.

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"(Lighthizer) indicated there was no deal with Canada, but the hope is that Canada will come in later on, which I think is totally unacceptable. The U.S. president stayed seated as he extended his hand for a cursory handshake.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer - Freeland's counterpart at the talks - on Tuesday had complained Canada was not making enough concessions and said time was running out.

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". Officials in the PMO insisted no such request had been made, given already close contact with the White House. "There are all sorts of opportunities for me to speak to President Trump, and that was not the time".

It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump was responding to comments Trudeau made earlier at a news conference of his own - similar to what happened over the summer following the G7 meetings in Quebec.

The NAFTA impasse can't be helping matters, either.

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

Trump has demanded major changes to NAFTA, which he has said caused US manufacturing jobs to move to low-wage Mexico.

"I think everybody knows what each other's position is on all of the major issues and I think it's really a question of whether or not the USA wants to have a deal". "I think Canada would like to be in the agreement, I think the US would like them in the agreement", he said.

"We're going to go ahead with Mexico", he said.

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