Trump says could envision trade deal with Canada without Mexico
U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he would be open to doing a bilateral trade deal with Canada but not Mexico if talks between the three countries over the North American Free Trade Agreement fall apart, APA reports quoting Reuters.
Asked by a reporter if he would make a trade pact with Canada if he cannot reach agreement with Mexico in the NAFTA negotiations, Trump said: “Oh sure, absolutely. It’s possible we won’t be able to reach a deal with one or the other, but in the meantime we’ll make a deal with one.”
Trump was speaking in the Oval Office beside Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who is trying to convince the U.S. president of NAFTA’s merits as a new round of renegotiations began on Wednesday near Washington.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday accused Trump’s administration of trying to sabotage the talks with “poison pill proposals”, including demands for more favorable treatment for the U.S. side on car production, and a “sunset clause” to force regular negotiations.
Asked during his appearance with Trudeau whether NAFTA was dead, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens.”
“It’s possible we won’t be able to make a deal, and it’s possible that we will,” he said. “We’ll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need. We have to protect our workers, and in all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people also.”
Trade experts say the NAFTA talks are likely to stall in the face of aggressive U.S. attempts to sharply increase content requirements for autos and auto parts.
People briefed on U.S. proposals to be presented this week said Washington is seeking to sharply lift North American content threshold in car manufacturing.
The proposals call for North American content overall to rise to 85 percent from the current 62.5 percent. In addition, the United States wants to add a new 50-percent U.S.-specific content requirement, something that was not in the earlier agreements.
“These will be met with widespread opposition from Canada and Mexico. I think it’s just a bridge too far,” said Wendy Cutler, the Asia Society’s Washington policy director and former chief U.S. negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal canceled by Trump.
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