Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Trump sees deal with Canada minus Mexico

Trump sees deal with Canada minus Mexico

Trudeau wrapped up his visit to Washington on Wednesday by saying that he continues to believe that renegotiating and renewing NAFTA is the best option for all three countries.

US and Mexican business leaders warned that talks on a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could collapse because of hardline demands from US President Donald Trump's administration.

The former Conservative leader, who's known as an ardent free trader, says powerful anti-trade forces that predate Trump's presidency are at play in American society and aren't going away anytime soon.

Mexico's cattle industry, which exports almost US$9 billion worth of product a year to the United States, took a similar stand Tuesday. The Trump administration will move forward with an aggressive rules-of-origin proposal for autos and auto parts that will target 50 percent US content requirement and 85 percent (up from 62.5 percent) regional content, sources say, when negotiations resume this week. "We'll see if we can do the kind of changes that we need".

"But we have a good partnership. and that's why having an ongoing constructive relationship between the president and the prime minister is really important". The negotiations were extended on Wednesday by two days to October 17.

"The possibility exists that we could leave the negotiating table because our partners are asking for things that Mexico can't deliver", its president, Juan Pablo Castanon, said earlier this month.

It wasn't clear whether the change in the prime minister's NAFTA message was a direct result of his meeting with the US president, someone he acknowledged "makes decisions that surprise people sometimes".

The latest round of NAFTA talks kicked off with a discussion of government procurement, already a thorny subject - USA negotiators suggested during the last round in Ottawa that they want to limit Canadian and Mexican access to US projects.

Trudeau is scheduled to visit Mexico today to hold additional discussions on NAFTA.

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