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Trump, Trudeau meet at the White House amid new NAFTA talks

12 October 2017

President Donald Trump renewed his threat to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement just as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Washington on the eve of a new round of negotiations.

Trudeau is presenting several proposals to modernize NAFTA as he tries to preserve the trade agreement.

Asked by a reporter if he would make a trade pact with Canada if he can not reach agreement with Mexico in the NAFTA negotiations, Trump said: "Oh sure, absolutely".

Trade experts say the NAFTA talks are likely to stall in the face of aggressive US attempts to sharply increase content requirements for autos and auto parts.

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"What President Trump said is that we want to redefine and renegotiate Nafta in a free and fair trade deal", Perdue told reporters after swearing in the department's new undersecretary for trade. "It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible that we will", Trump said, noting the close relations between the two countries and leaders. Last week, Washington imposed hefty duties on Canadian-owned Bombadier airplane imports; the levies have made it virtually impossible for the firm to sell its planes in the U.S. market.

But the USA president also said it's too early to give up on the negotiations, which resumed Wednesday in nearby Alexandria, Va.

The committee chair, Republican Kevin Brady, called the countries, "great allies", and said, "when North America wins, America wins".

"An abrupt exit from NAFTA would be more of a loss for USA exporters than for Mexican ones", he said. In addition, the United States wants to add a new 50 per cent US-specific content requirement, something that was not in the earlier agreements.

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Trump can withdraw the US from the deal after giving Canada and Mexico six months' notice, though experts debate whether the president would require congressional approval. It's time after all of these years and we'll see what happens. But Mexico strongly opposes a USA -specific content requirement, which would limit the growth of its own auto industry.

He said tariffs would increase by more - around 7 percent - for USA businesses exporting to Mexico.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Wednesday the three nations had completed their negotiations on company competition policy, reaching an agreement that goes beyond previous U.S. trade deals to ensure "certain rights and transparency under each nation's competition laws".

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Trump, Trudeau meet at the White House amid new NAFTA talks