NAFTA Talks: US, Mexico May Proceed Without Canada

NAFTA: Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed

NAFTA: Lighthizer hints Mexico pact may need to be reopened if delayed

U.S. President Donald Trump says he rejected a one-on-one meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau because he's upset with Canadian tariffs - but Trudeau's office says it never extended any invitation.

Trump then took aim at Canada's dairy supply management system, which he said is hurting Wisconsin dairy farmers by charging them tariffs of up to 300 per cent.

The top US negotiator on Tuesday complained Canada was not making enough concessions in bilateral talks to renew the North American Free Trade Agreement and said time was running out before Washington proceeded with a Mexico-only deal.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Tuesday that negotiators are "sort of running out of time" to include Canada in the trade deal that the U.S. made with Mexico last month. "We don't have any comment beyond that".

Talks have become increasingly hostile.

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 the U.S. leader criticized Canada's trade negotiators and cast doubt on the chances of reaching agreement on a rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), again threatening to impose tariffs on all auto imports.

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"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 Trudeau.

"We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada". The president said it would be called "USM", for the USA and Mexico, instead of "USMC", and offered blunt criticism of the Canadian team engaged in the talks.

USA producers actually sell more dairy product to Canada than they import, and the 300 percent tariff only applies to goods above the quota, which the United States does not meet, according to trade experts. Trump has complained about Canadian tariffs on USA dairy products - and did so again Wednesday - and has called on Congress to pass a trade deal his administration negotiated with Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, with or without Canada's participation.

"I believe that it is still a remote possibility, but it is slightly higher than it was before this, and that's why the Canadian dollar slumped".

While the talks have been "challenging", the ball is on the USA side of the court, MacNaughton said at an event in Toronto hosted by the US website Politico.

"I don't think there's anything to read into it", Trudeau said.

He also mentioned another tough issue, American demands for greater access to Canada's supply-managed dairy market. "It's been long and exhausting, but I think we've narrowed the gap". Chapter 19 has, in practice, been not that important, while Canada could do as Mexico did, trading Trump's national-security tariffs for quotas on how much it could export to the States, he said.

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