Canada's PM sees possibility to build on U.S.-Mexico NAFTA deal

Nafta Deal Could Move Ahead Without Canada, According to U.S. Trade Representative

"But we know Canada's interests are what we have to stand up for. we are looking for the right deal, not just for Canada but for the United States", he said at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in NY.

"Canada's not making concessions in areas we think are essential", Lighthizer continued. "We're not going to give up - they're a huge trading partner of the United States". "Our hope is that Canada comes along and joins that right now". If Canada comes along later, then that's what will happen. Markets are nervous about the impact on a deal that underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade.

Canadian officials say that despite the USA threats to go it alone with Mexico, they do not believe Trump can by himself turn the 1994 pact into a bilateral deal.

Mr. Lighthizer's comments, however, added some nuance: If Canada doesn't reach an agreement on NAFTA, he said, the USA still intends to negotiate a later deal rather than shred the free-trade pact entirely. The two are in NY for a United Nations meeting but it is unclear whether they will meet.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke before Lighthizer at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations in NY and took a more cautious tone about the outcome.

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"They (the United States and Mexico) made certain agreements", he said.

Well it could mean a US-Canada trade spat, auto tariffs and other problems.

The Trump administration and the Mexican government want the agreement signed before the Mexican president-elect, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, takes office in December.

Mr. Lighthizer also suggested that Canada and Mexico can not expect swift relief on steel and aluminium tariffs, which the US imposed on its NAFTA partners in June.

And it is unclear whether Congress would allow Canada to be added in to a U.S. -Mexico agreement at a later date rather than requiring the administration to make two separate deals.

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