Trump Tariffs Are Becoming More Stick Than Carrot in Nafta Talks

Trump Tariffs Are Becoming More Stick Than Carrot in Nafta Talks

"We discussed some tough issues today, the atmosphere continues to be constructive, and we continue to work hard towards a deal", Freeland told reporters.

"Bob and I joke sometimes that we could switch chairs, we know each other's positions so well", Freeland said this month in between meetings with Lighthizer, as quoted in a profile by The New York Times Friday.

Washington reached a bilateral trade deal with Mexico in late August and is threatening to exclude Canada if need be. "'We're totally happy to have Canada join if they wish, and if they don't, we will go ahead simply with Mexico", Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Tuesday.

Canada has objected to the Trump administration's request to allow tariffs on Canadian auto imports, and the two nations have disagreed over how to handle future trade dispute settlements and Canada's massive dairy industry. She didn't say when she'd next meet Lighthizer and brushed aside questions of deadlines by saying her only goal is getting a good deal: "We continue to be guided by that single metric".

The sides remain at odds on a handful of issues. But the talks have hit an impasse over USA threats to impose tariffs to Canadian auto exports.

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"We're still talking to Canada". The U.S. wants to delete the chapter, while Canada has publicly said some type of similar panel is required for the country to back a deal.

The United States is getting "very, very close" to having to move forward on its trade deal with Mexico without Canada, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said on Friday.

Despite weeks of negotiations, however, Canada and the US have not been able to reach an agreement.

Under U.S. trade law, in order to sign a deal before Mexico's incoming president takes office, text of the agreement needs to be published by September 30, meaning a high-level agreement is needed imminently to allow time for it to be converted to legal text. However, the fear among Canadians is that they'd sign a new NAFTA deal and see the Trump administration swiftly apply auto tariffs anyhow, devastating the economy, one of the officials said, adding there's little value in a trade deal with that kind of uncertainty.

"We would like the government of the United States and the government of Canada to come to an agreement so the treaty can be trilateral, as it was originally signed", said Lopez Obrador, a veteran leftist who takes office in December.

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