Canada's Freeland Postpones UN Speech With Nafta Talks Under Way

Justin trudeau

Trudeau spokeswoman Eleanore Catenaro said in response: 'No meeting was requested.

"Everybody's negotiating in good faith right now as we speak".

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

Ottawa is also seeking assurances that the United States will not, after signing a new NAFTA deal, turn around and hit Canada with punitive auto tariffs.

Despite the fact it's one of Trump's favourite talking points, the politically sensitive question of greater US access to Canada's dairy market is also no longer a hurdle, say sources familiar with the talks.

A senior Canadian government official said they are making progress in the talks but said it's not certain that they will reach a deal soon. "But the US position is that the deadline is very real and there will be consequences for missing it".

The remarks by Trump, who repeated a threat to impose tariffs on Canadian autos, knocked the Canadian dollar down to a one-week low against the US greenback.

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The United States and Canada have told Mexico they could reach a compromise within 48 hours on keeping the updated North American Free Trade Agreement a three-country deal, the Mexican economy minister said Friday.

The text will flesh out an agreement in principle reached by the United States and Mexico on August 27 that aims to rebalance automotive trade between the two countries and modernize the almost 25-year-old NAFTA with new chapters on digital trade, stronger labor and environmental standards. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad. Even though Canada and the US are at loggerheads, negotiations may continue.

A bulk of Canada's efforts this weekend have been focused on securing an exemption to the Section 232 tariffs - especially dealing with autos - which allow President Donald Trump to slap duties on foreign products in the name of national security, a source with direct knowledge of the talks confirmed.

Mexico on Friday evening will publish the text of its trade agreement with the US, giving the public its first in-depth look at a deal that would replace NAFTA - and potentially exclude Canada, amid a call from Mexico's incoming leader to preserve the three-country pact.

Some have characterized the side letter as effectively establishing a quota on the number of autos that can be exported to the US - anathema to the very principles of free trade.

Auto industry executives say it is unlikely those targets can be met if Canada is not part of the deal, given supply chains that crisscross NAFTA borders multiple times. They suspected that Canada, which had said it wasn't bound by US deadlines, was delaying the talks until after provincial elections Monday in Quebec, where support for Canadian dairy tariffs runs high. "A deal is not necessarily going to happen", said the source, who requested anonymity given the sensitivity of the situation. But at the end of the day, this president is not going to take a deal that's not good for this country.

The United States would be made this Friday a counter-proposal in Canada, according to the president-elect of mexico, "which means that the negotiation is open".

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