Tuesday, 20 November, 2018

Trump says he rejected meeting with Trudeau over trade fight

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Scott Davis | 27 September, 2018, 11:13

US President Donald Trump claims he rejected a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regarding NAFTA.

But Trump suggested he may go forward with a revamped NAFTA without Canada.

"The fact is, Canada is not making concessions in areas where we think they're essential", US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in NY on Tuesday, as quoted by The Hill.

The Trade Representative is supposed to meet with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland sometime during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in NY, but an unnamed senior administration official said that chances of a last-minute deal are slim.

Talks have become increasingly hostile.

"How do you sell a dairy product at 300 percent?" he said, adding that it is obviously Canada's way to back-door a trade barrier disguised as a tariff.

Trump has used an obscure "national security" provision of USA trade law to impose tariffs on imports of Canadian steel and aluminum.

Asked why he refused to meet with Trudeau, Trump said, "Because his tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move and I told him forgot about it".

He did not rule out the possibility of a deal, but made it clear he had little interest in compromising.




McNaughton said he had jokingly told Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. Trade Representative, that he would schedule a root canal operation after their next session, "just to make me feel better". "Canada has treated us very badly". "We're going to tax the cars that come in", he said.

"I mean Mexico has 25 percent of our oil business now because of NAFTA", said Trump.

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.

But Lighthizer on Tuesday said time was running out for Canada to be included, and Mexico's trade negotiator Kenneth Smith Ramos said the two countries are ready to proceed.

"I'm not going to use the name 'NAFTA, '" he said.

But Freeland's spokesman, Adam Austen, said Canada would only sign a good deal. I never liked it.

And then, for good measure: "We don't like their representative very much". It's been great for Canada.

Mexico and Canada have stood firm on the importance of maintaining the trilateral format of the NAFTA free trade deal, even as Trump has signaled a desire for individual deals with each country. "We will put billions and billions of dollars into our Treasury".

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