No deal yet in Canada-U.S. trade talks; time running out

August 31, 2018

A deal to replace NAFTA still eluded U.S. and Canada on Friday with just hours before President Trump’s deadline for an agreement, the top Canadian negotiator said.

“We are not there yet,” Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told reporters in Washington.

Ms. Freeland said they were “working hard” but that her negotiation team was not satisfied that the deal was good for Canada.

Mr. Trump set a Friday deadline for Canada to agree to join the U.S.-Mexico deal to replace the three-way North American Free Trade Agreement. The replacement deal was announced Monday.

If Canada is out, Mr. Trump threatened to submit the U.S.-Mexico deal with Congress and hit Canada with a 25 percent tariff on cars.

Ms. Freeland’s remarks after the morning negotiation session threw cold water on early optimism voiced by both sides of the talks.

She said the negotiation would continue.

“As has been the case form the very beginning, Canada is a country that is good at finding win-win compromises. Having said that, in trade negotiations [and] in this negotiation, we always stand up for the national interest,” she said. “And that is what we are going to continue to do. We are looking for a good deal, not just any deal, and we will only agree to a deal that is a good deal for Canada. We are not there yet.”

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