The doubts that emerged last week, after Trump’s threat against Canada to tax cars on failure of the trade deal, might get cleared pretty soon. The absence of the country, from the NAFTA negotiations had raised concerns amongst the observers, who anticipated that Canada might have to settle in with the US-Mexico deal.
Recently, the US President Donald Trump has suggested that Canada has been deliberately left on NAFTA’s sidelines, while the one-on-one talks between Mexico and Washington heat up.
Canada has remained absent from the bargaining table straight for four weeks. Meanwhile, bilateral negotiations have been held between the Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and US trade czar Robert Lighthizer, on the North American Free Trade Agreement.
While the observers have been in a doubt all this while, the Canadian officials insisted that they are unperturbed of being left out from the discussions, saying it is allowing Mexico and the US to resolve difficult bilateral issues, for example, their differences on autos. The officials also argued that during NAFTA’s renegotiation process, there have been several one-on-one talks.
On Thursday, during a televised cabinet meeting in Washington, Trump appeared to spoke about it all at one-year anniversary of the start of NAFTA’s renegotiation. He had repeatedly complained about the supply-managed dairy sector of Canada in the past.
Trump said, “We’re not negotiating with Canada right now. Their tariffs are too high, their barriers are too strong, so we’re not even talking to them right now. But we’ll see how that works out. It will only work out to our favour.”
With hopes for a NAFTA breakthrough with Mexico, Lighthizer said, “I’m hopeful with Mexico and then I hope once we get one with Mexico that Canada will come along.”
The governments of both Mexico and the US expressed optimism that the entire NAFTA renegotiation could conclude by the end of this month.
However, on Thursday, Trump stated that he’s in “no rush” of making a deal.