Donald Trump dumps on Canada, knocks Freeland, threatens tariffs

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday blasted Canada over the slow pace of NAFTA talks, saying he was so unhappy that he had rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's request for a one-on-one meeting.

He also again threatened to slap auto tariffs on Canada, if a NAFTA deal isn't reached.

"That's the motherload, that's the big one", Trump told reporters.

President Donald Trump's administration will nearly certainly fail to meet this weekend's deadline for including Canada in a new North American trade agreement, The Washington Post reports. He said the US team thinks the Canadian "negotiators have taken advantage of our country for a long time".

He said both that there's a "good chance still" that the USA and Canada will reach a deal, but also that "probably or possibly" they won't.

Negotiations for possible exemptions for Mexico and Canada from USA steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year will take place after the new Nafta deal is agreed on, Lighthizer said.

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Trump has demanded major changes to NAFTA, which he has said caused US manufacturing jobs to move to low-wage Mexico.

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday, Trump touted the success of his trade policy, citing the renegotiated bilateral trade deal with South Korea, as well as a partial rework of NAFTA agreed to with Mexico.

"Yeah, I did", Trump said.

The U.S. and Canada are at odds over anti-dumping dispute panels contained under Chapter 19 of the current deal, which the U.S. wants to remove and Canada wants to keep.

"The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be", Trudeau told reporters on the way into a regular weekly cabinet meeting in Ottawa. The U.S. president stayed seated as he extended his hand for a cursory handshake.

The official declined to be named because the matter has not yet been made public.

"I love Canada, by the way", he said.

Congress has until the end of the month to approve any trade deals, which means Canada may have to wait until lawmakers reconvene. Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the USA wants concessions.

Malmstrom said the pattern of behaviour coming the United States is causing other countries to flock to Canada and the European Union for trade partnerships.

"Maybe the Europeans have been a little bit quicker in assessing the possibilities [of CETA], because we are more used to different markets", she said.

  • Eleanor Harrison