European Union trade chief defends Freeland after Trump trash-talks 'Canada's negotiator'

US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said US President Donald Trump's trade tariffs were
Canada Not Making ‘Essential’ Trade Concessions According to Lighthizer AFP25 Sep 2018

28 September, 2018

Trump said Wednesday that Trudeau had sought a meeting with him during the United Nations General Assembly in NY, but Trump refused to participate because he doesn't like how Canada was approaching the trade discussions.

Trump said he was very unhappy with "the negotiations and negotiating style of Canada", and that he turned down a recent one-on-one with Trudeau because Canadian tariffs are too high.

When Trump spoke to the media yesterday, he announced that Trudeau had asked to meet with him, but Trump refused because he "didn't like Canada's representative".

Canada is the United States's largest trading partner, but Trump has accused Canadians of ripping off American workers off for years, largely because of complaints he has heard from dairy farmers in Wisconsin and NY.

Trudeau also said a good and fair deal is still "very possible".

He took aim at the country's dairy tariffs and reiterated his threat to tax Canada's auto industry.

"Yeah I did", president Trump answered.

"The Americans are finding that the negotiations are tough because Canadians are tough negotiators, as we should be", he said. "Very bad for us", Mr Trump said.

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Separately, a well-placed Canadian source said there were no immediate plans for any more talks with the United States.

In August, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, confirmed that no NAFTA agreement was reached with the US.

Tim Scott, a Republican senator from SC, said Tuesday he'd prefer Canada be included, and wouldn't say if he'd vote for a bilateral U.S. -Mexico deal. The U.S. president stayed seated as he extended his hand for a cursory handshake.

He lauded U.S. Trade Representative Bob Lighthizer's negotiating then turned back to Canada. "But it will probably or possibly be just USM", he said suggesting it will likely only include the USA and Mexico.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Trump was responding to comments Trudeau made earlier at a news conference of his own - similar to what happened over the summer following the G7 meetings in Quebec.

The official declined to be named because the matter has not yet been made public.

The NAFTA impasse can't be helping matters, either.

The trade agreement, which took effect in 1994, removed most trade barriers between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, leading to a boost in trade, but it encouraged U.S. automakers and other manufacturers to move south of the border to take advantage of low-wage Mexican labour. Tariffs are paid by importers of products, not foreign countries, and US business executives have said they will probably be forced to pass these costs on to consumers. Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the US wants concessions.

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