Canada PM shrugs off U.S. NAFTA pressure, says new deal not guaranteed

By David Lawder UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday shrugged off U.S. pressure to quickly agree to a deal on NAFTA and indicated it was possible the three member nations might fail to conclude a new pact. His comments cast further doubt on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States.

Reuters September 27, 2018 00:05:34 IST
Canada PM shrugs off U.S. NAFTA pressure, says new deal not guaranteed

Canada PM shrugs off US NAFTA pressure says new deal not guaranteed

By David Lawder

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday shrugged off U.S. pressure to quickly agree to a deal on NAFTA and indicated it was possible the three member nations might fail to conclude a new pact.

His comments cast further doubt on the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States. Markets and business groups are openly fretting about the damage that a collapse could provoke.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, which is demanding major changes to the 1994 treaty, has already concluded a text with Mexico and is threatening to leave out Canada unless it signs up by this Sunday.

"We will keep working as long as it takes to get to the right deal for Canada," Trudeau told reporters at the United Nations. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad.

The two sides are still far apart on major issues. Speaking separately, Canada's ambassador to Washington said that on a scale of 1 to 10, the chances of an agreement by the Sept 30 deadline were 5.

"If it doesn't happen by the end of the week, we'll just keep working away and trying to get the best deal for Canada," David MacNaughton told a Toronto event arranged by Politico Canada.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer on Tuesday had complained Canada was not making enough concessions and said time was running out. Lighthizer's office was not immediately available for comment.

Canadian officials say they do not believe Trump can rework NAFTA into a bilateral deal without the approval of Congress.

Trump is threatening to impose tariffs on Canadian autos. Asked about the challenge this posed, Trudeau said Canada would need to feel confident "about the path forward as we move forward - if we do - on a NAFTA 2.0."

Trudeau said existing U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum in late May would have to be scrapped before Canada felt comfortable signing a new NAFTA.

The two nations have also not settled disagreements over the future of a dispute settlement mechanism that Canada insists must remain. Lighthizer wants to scrap it.

The Trump administration has said the text of an agreement between the three nations is needed by Sunday to allow the current Mexican government to sign it before it leaves office at the end of November.

Asked what he would do if Canada were excluded, Trudeau said, "we will keep working on a broad range of alternatives." He did not give details.

MacNaughton said Lighthizer and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland were due to meet this week on the sidelines of a United Nations meeting in New York.

"It's really a question of whether or not the United States wants to have a deal. They know exactly what it is that we are prepared to do and what we need," he said. Freeland's office did not respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by David Lawder and David Ljunggren, writing by David Ljunggren; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Government aid, stock gains push U.S. wealth to pre-pandemic levels, Fed says
Business

Government aid, stock gains push U.S. wealth to pre-pandemic levels, Fed says

By Howard Schneider WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A rebounding stock market and massive federal aid payments pushed the net worth of U.S. households back to pre-coronavirus levels in the second quarter, the Federal Reserve reported on Monday, with savings accounts and equity portfolios both rising sharply despite the pandemic

Traders shun risky assets as new lockdowns loom
Business

Traders shun risky assets as new lockdowns loom

By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks across the world hit their lowest in seven weeks and other risk assets sold off on Monday on concerns over renewed lockdown measures in Europe and Britain, as well as the United States' inability to agree on fiscal stimulus that would support millions of unemployed. Oil prices fell nearly 5%, the dollar rallied and an index of emerging market currencies fell by the most in six months. The MSCI world equity index , which tracks shares in 49 countries, touched its lowest since Aug.

Traders shun risky assets as new lockdowns loom; stocks, oil tumble
Business

Traders shun risky assets as new lockdowns loom; stocks, oil tumble

By Rodrigo Campos NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks across the world hit their lowest in seven weeks and other risk assets also sold off on Monday on concerns over renewed lockdown measures in Europe and Britain, as well as the United States' inability to agree on fiscal stimulus that would support millions of unemployed. Oil prices fell more than 3%, the dollar rose against a basket of peers and an index of emerging market currencies fell by the most in six months. The MSCI world equity index , which tracks shares in 49 countries, ended at its lowest since Aug