US says Canada not making concessions needed for NAFTA deal

Canada is running out of time on trilateral NAFTA deal, warns U.S. trade chief Lighthizer

The U.S.is moving forward on its bilateral trade deal with Mexico even if Canada is left out because negotiators can't resolve their sharp differences over dairy and a dispute resolution system, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said.

As reported by Reuters, US officials are complaining that Canada is refusing to make necessary concessions in order to achieve a trilateral pact that will update and replace NAFTA.

Trudeau has said his focus on dealing with the Trump administration has been "simply not escalating, not opining, not weighing in".

"On steel and aluminium ... we started off originally trying to have some kind of an overall agreement", he said.

Trudeau appeared on the panel alongside Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is leading NAFTA talks. "It would be unfair to all the people that have been involved - certainly the US workers, farmers and ranchers - to start a new negotiation with a new president of Mexico". The latest burst of Canada-U.S. talks began in August, "which seems like a century ago but was actually just a month ago", she said. He covers US politics and current affairs. "Our hope is that Canada comes along and joins that right now". If not, we'll have to do it in a separate deal as soon afterwards as we can.

Mr. Lighthizer's comments, however, added some nuance: If Canada doesn't reach an agreement on NAFTA, he said, the US still intends to negotiate a later deal rather than shred the free-trade pact entirely.

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Negotiations aimed at a new agreement have been underway for 13 months, but Canada and the USA remain at loggerheads.

Whether the USA could actually proceed with a separate bilateral deal with Mexico, absent Canada, is a matter of debate.

The United States and Canada are divided over the best way to resolve trade disputes and on a US demand for more access to Canada's protected dairy market.

Trudeau said Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum, enacted on grounds of national security, are "a tool that the president has to use and he is using them because I think there's a sense that there are other tools that have to go through Congress that he doesn't get to use".

Negotiations for possible exemptions for Mexico and Canada from USA steel and aluminum tariffs imposed earlier this year will take place after the new Nafta deal is agreed on, Lighthizer said. It is also unclear if Congress believes the Trump administration even has the legal authority to exclude Canada.

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