Does Donald Trump even want a NAFTA deal?


Throughout the day Friday, it became increasingly clear that Canada and the USA would be unable to reach an agreement.

But under USA trade rules, the US team wouldn't have to make public the text of the revamped agreement for 30 additional days, possibly buying more time to reach a deal with the Canadians. Not just any deal.

"Having said that, we will always stand up for the national interest", Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters Friday after meeting with Lighthizer.

President Trump responded to a Toronto Star story about off-the-record comments he was alleged to have made about trade talks with Canada in an interview with Bloomberg News Thursday.

The paper acknowledged that the remarks were made "off the record" and that Bloomberg accepted the request not to make them public, but said "the Star is not bound by any promises Bloomberg made to Trump". Trump isn't just negotiating with Canada; he's also trying to outmaneuver the European Union and China on trade. The administration's notification of its intent to sign an agreement with Mexico is encouraging, as well as its acknowledgement that Canada will be included if it is able to meet the high standards, Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee chairman Dave Reichert said.

Talks were to continue next week between Lighthizer and Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland.

"I love Canada, but they've taken advantage of our Country for many years!" tweeted the president.

Trump has set a Friday deadline for the three countries to reach an agreement, which would allow Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign it before he leaves office at the end of November.

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With the U.S. deadline to get an agreement by Friday, there were reports the sides were struggling to find compromise on the NAFTA mechanism for resolving trade disputes and on Canada's managed dairy market.

Few foresaw how Canada's dairy industry would become Trump's poster child proving that NAFTA is "the worst deal ever", as the president likes to call it.

Canada has reportedly offered to make concessions to its protected dairy industry, which has come under repeated attack from Trump, in an effort to retain Chapter 19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded to Trump's off the record comments at a press conference this morning.

Was Mexico's leader living up to his commitment not to make a deal without Canada? Canada hopes to sign on to the United States and Mexico's revised trade accord, thereby rewriting the 25-year-old NAFTA deal.

"Off the record, Canada's working their ass off", Trump allegedly said. "At least Canada knows where I stand!" said Trump. But Trump said any trade deal with Canada would be "totally on our terms", confirming an earlier report from the Toronto Star. It was unclear whether the two countries had agreed a deal. "I can't kill these people", the President shockingly said about Canadian officials. The U.S. -Canadian talks had been ongoing since then.

The U.S. and Canada are wrangling over several tough issues, including American demands for greater access to the Canadian dairy market and Canada's insistence on maintaining NAFTA's existing procedure for resolving disputes.

The Council on Foreign Relations estimated that a third of United States jobs in auto manufacturing have been lost since NAFTA came into effect in 1994.