Decision day dawns as intensive NAFTA effort nears U.S.-imposed deadline

The back and forth about the supposed meeting comes amid the US and Canada's acrimonious renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and follows months of souring relations between the two North American neighbors.

The two nations are now working to avoid a fight that could jeopardize $500 billion in annual trade, according to the tweet.

The U.S. and Mexico held off on a plan to publish the full legal text of their deal on Friday as the U.S. and Canadian negotiators raced against a September 30 deadline.

US President Donald Trump has been seeking to renegotiate the United States' trade agreements with other countries, including the NAFTA deal, since his election campaign in 2016.

The two sides are still far apart on major issues such as how to settle disputes and USA demands for more access to Canada's protected dairy market. According to The Wall Street Journal, the dispute between USA and Canada hinges on agricultural and media protection policies, as well as the installation of a system that would allow any of the three countries in the agreement to challenge tariffs imposed by one of the others.

"We've made the deal with Mexico, and it's a great deal for both countries", Trump said.

But that would mean 'going ahead with a bilateral agreement and then later defining what legal actions we would have to take to maintain the possibility of a three-way deal, ' he said. "And that's where things stand".

Sources familiar with the talks told Reuters on September 11 that Canada was ready to give the United States limited dairy access.


Under U.S. trade law, an agreement must be published for 60 days before it can be signed by leaders of any of the participant countries, putting negotiators on the clock to reach a deal that can be signed by November 30, Pena Nieto's final day in office. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad.

But talks to incorporate Canada have stumbled over issues including the protected Canadian dairy industry and a provision for settling trade disputes. "In any case, we already agreed with the USA and we won't revise what is agreed".

Speaking to reporters this morning in Ottawa, Trudeau disputed Trump's statement - insisting Canada did not request a meeting with the president this week. But his transition team played an active part in the recent negotiations, and he has firmly backed the US-Mexican deal - which he wants Canada to join.

Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are the top auto producers in Canada, meaning any levies on Canadian vehicles would affect American companies. However, it would also upend North American supply chains and complicate life for USA automakers.

If the US and Mexico try to advance a bilateral deal without Canada they may face delays in Congress, where key lawmakers have called for the three-nation format to continue.

The mexican Senate, largely dominated by the left party Morena, the new president, announced that the mexican government would be filing Friday, the text of the agreement signed in August between the United States and Mexico for the approval of the senators.

A former senior Canadian trade adviser warned that the auto tariff threat outweighs anything else.

  • David Armstrong