Trump Discusses NAFTA Renegotiation with Canada and Mexico

Trump Discusses NAFTA Renegotiation with Canada and Mexico

The fate of a deal that underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade is so uncertain that Trudeau's predecessor, Stephen Harper, warned in his own speech Wednesday that companies should start planning for the pull out.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau to the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, in Washington.

The deal has been especially good to farmers and ranchers, the letter said, noting that the agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico have quadrupled since the agreement.

Higgins never got a chance to speak during the 45-minute committee meeting with Trudeau, but he said afterward that he is also hoping for improvements in the deal.

However, in his typically uncompromising approach to diplomacy, Trump told reporters later that "if we can't make a deal, it'll be terminated and that will be fine".

"It's possible we won't be able to make a deal and it's possible we will", he added.

Trump's commerce secretary Wilbur Ross addressed the same panel, and said the president is prepared to maintain NAFTA, split it into two bilateral deals, or walk away.

On Tuesday, the US chamber of commerce accused Trump's administration of trying to sabotage the talks with "poison pill proposals", including demands for more favourable treatment for the US side on car production, and a "sunset clause" to force regular negotiations.

Mexican officials are also adopting increasingly tough rhetoric as the odds have risen that NAFTA could be in trouble.

As Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau wanted one thing none of his predecessors had: A Cabinet with an equal number of men and women.

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The Canadian press has suggested that Trudeau is on a "charm offensive" in a last-ditch effort to save the deal. Meanwhile, Trump ally Newt Gingrich was advising observers to ignore the bluster and expect the pact's salvation.

Mrs. Trudeau appeared in an over-the-knees dress, completed with stiletto shoes and a beautiful handbag.

"I continue to believe in saying, we are ready for anything, and we will continue to work diligently to protect Canadian interests", Trudeau said.

"I think there would be consequences, most of which would be negative", he said.

The current round of talks also will include discussions on financial services, labor rules, agriculture, digital trade, investment and energy, among other issues, according to the agenda. "My optimism is because I know how good NAFTA has been for million of citizens of Canada, the United States and Mexico". The Trump administration is calling for an 85-percent threshold, with a 50-percent requirement for U.S. -specific content.

That disparity has made Mexico a target for NAFTA critics from the left as well as from the populist right represented by Trump. Boeing claims that Bombardier has received $3 billion in Canadian government subsidies that give it unfair advantages on the international marketplace.