Donald Trump refuses to commit to trade pact — NAFTA


Trudeau told reporters that he is still optimistic about the NAFTA though Canada needs to be "ready for anything".

Trudeau wouldn't say Wednesday at what point Canada might be prepared to walk away, if ever.

The negotiations are being held at the demand of Trump, who this week repeated his threat to pull the US out of the 23-year-old accord.

Trudeau, who is on his second visit to the United States, seemed to be polite about Trump despite Canada's repeated collision with the U.S. due to the NAFTA negotiations. "We have a tough negotiation, and it's something you will know in the not too distant future".

Canada and Mexico want their companies to be able to bid on more US federal and state government contracts, but this is at odds with Trump's "Buy American" agenda.

But Mexico has always been the lone developing country in the trade pact, with wages that are significantly lower than in Canada or the U.S. Critics say this fact gives Mexico an unfair advantage in NAFTA - a criticism that President Trump has echoed.

"It's possible we won't be able to reach a deal with one or the other".

Tens of thousands of homes and apartments were destroyed and will have to be rebuilt following the September 19 magnitude 7.1 quake, which killed 369 people, and an earlier, even more powerful one that struck in southern Mexico on September 7 with a magnitude of 8.1.

The CEO meeting ran in parallel to talks near Washington aimed at refreshing the 1994 agreement, with Mexico, Canada and businesses united in opposition to a number of radical USA proposals they say would damage the North American economy.

Labor and environmental groups were also taking aim at the talks, which have remained closed to the public. "That's exactly what this NAFTA renegotiation is".

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Trudeau's government, agreeing with Canada's largest union, previously put the issue of worker rights in the USA - specifically repeal of so-called "right-to-work" laws - on the NAFTA bargaining table. After Donohue made his comments supporting the Nafta, Emily Davis, spokeswoman for the Office of the US Trade Representative, reiterated the administration's position.

"I continue to believe in NAFTA; I continue to believe that as a continent working together in complementary ways is better for our citizens and better for economic growth, and allows us to compete on a stronger footing with the global economy", Trudeau said.

"I think it's been clear that circumstances are often challenging, and we have to be ready for anything - and we are", Trudeau said.

"We don't hope it will, we don't desire that it will, we don't believe that it will, but it is at least a conceptual possibility as we go forward", Ross said. But maybe that won't be necessary. "It has to be fair to both countries".

Following the most recent round in Ottawa last month, negotiators said they had made progress on subjects such as telecommunications, competition policy, digital trade, regulation and customs and trade facilitation. "They want a successful renegotiation", said committee member Rep. Debbie Dingell and Dan Kildee, both D-Mich., and both with auto and part plants, though not as many as once loomed there.

But U.S. and Mexican corporate chief executives gathered in Mexico City said they would be better off with no NAFTA than be saddled with a "bad agreement". Switching to French, he added "this was not an easy conversation but an important conversation". "And I certainly mentioned that this was a block to us purchasing any - making any military procurements from Boeing".

The two met one day after an interview was published in Forbes magazine in which Trump said that NAFTA had been "a awful deal for our country".

Trump's stance has, however, been criticised by USA businesses.

Blowing up the deal appears to be Trump's favored choice. "Now we're renegotiating it". On the campaign trail, he called NAFTA a job-killing disaster.

But Pena Nieto's time at the helm of the Mexican government is coming to an end, with elections in his country scheduled for 2018.