US President Donald Trump said this week that while an agreement is possible for NAFTA renegotiations, the option of making a pact with Canada that excludes Mexico remains on the table. "I'm of the view that over the long term, because trade has been so beneficial for everyone, that we will get through periods of question".
Business leaders attending a U.S. -Mexico CEO conference said that no North American Free Trade Agreement would be better than a bad deal, as industry braces for the end of a treaty that drives $1 trillion in annual trade. It's time after all of these years and we'll see what happens.
Pressed over whether the NAFTA pact could degenerate into a series of bilateral deals, Trudeau said that his administration was "ready for anything and will continue to protect Canadian interests". Replying to a question, Trump said he would consider a trade pact with Canada minus Mexico, adding that both the United States and Canada wanted to protect their workers.
"If we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine", Trump said.
Trudeau in turn threatened to cancel a purchase of 18 fighter jets from American aerospace giant Boeing, saying he had told Trump he "disagreed vehemently" with the U.S. decision. Representatives of the auto industry warned some of the USA demands could raise prices for vehicles. The U.S.is expected to propose substantially raising the regional requirement, from 62.5 percent now, and potentially add a U.S. -specific content requirement. Mexico strongly opposes such a move, which would damage its own vehicle industry.
According to a schedule seen by Reuters, meetings on government procurement, cross-border services trade, environmental issues and state-owned enterprises were set to conclude for the current round on Thursday.
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 US proposals they say would damage the North American economy. The negotiations were extended on Wednesday by two days to Oct 17.
Mexico and Canada do some $20 billion a year in bilateral trade.
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said Trudeau would "explain really clearly to the President. that Canada is not America's problem".
Americans", she said, and acknowledged that changes to the deal would "of course be opposed by entrenched Washington lobbyists and trade associations.
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.
"U.S. negotiators have made conditions so tough that Mexico and Canada could reject them, which would be the flawless excuse for the USA government to announce its departure from NAFTA", Coutino wrote.