Mexico will never pay for Trump wall - economy minister

Minister Chrystia Freeland speaks to the media as she arrives for the first day of a cabinet retreat in London Ontario on Thursday Jan. 11 2018. The meeting comes a day after the loonie and Mexican peso plunged after reports tha

President TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for "serious case of amnesia" after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don't want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE on Friday said a renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) could yield the money to pay for his long-promised wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

The economic fallout from trade disputes is top of mind for ministers holding a two-day winter retreat in London, Ont., after Canadian stocks and the dollar fell Wednesday on reports the increasingly likely to withdraw from NAFTA.

Trump has said he will withdraw from NAFTA if the accord can not be renegotiated in favour of the United States.

While she puts the chances of US withdrawal at 50-50, "it's too early to throw in the towel on these negotiations", Cutler said.

"Our approach from the start has been to hope for the best, but prepare for the worst, so Canada is prepared for every eventuality", Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, according to local media.

The next round of NAFTA talks - the sixth so far - will be held in Montreal from January 23 to 28.

"When it comes to the more unconventional USA proposals, we have been doing some creative thinking", she said.

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Withdrawal from NAFTA could take place six months after a country provides written notice of its intent.

"I understand that a lot of things are hard to negotiate prior to an election", Trump said. "You get respect when people see you are firm".

This week, the government has filed a grievance with the World Trade Organization against the United States, for what Canada alleges, are breaches of anti-dumping regulations.

Canada and Mexico are unhappy about USA demands to establish rules of origin for NAFTA goods that would set minimum levels of US content for autos, a sunset clause that would terminate the deal if it is not renegotiated every five years and ending the so-called Chapter 19 dispute mechanism.

Freeland said the WTO filing is about the "unfair and unjustified" tariffs imposed, and is "on a quite separate track from the NAFTA negotiations".

Neither Freeland nor Finance Minister Bill Morneau would discuss what preparations the government is making for the potential end of NAFTA.

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