Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
World Media | By Shelia Harmon

Trump, Trudeau differ on NAFTA talks

Trump, Trudeau differ on NAFTA talks

But speaking to media after the talks, the Prime Minister said he is open to a new two country accord if that is what it takes to save free trade between the US and Canada. "We have to protect our workers, and in all fairness, the prime minister wants to protect Canada and his people also". "I'm of the view that over the long term, because trade has been so beneficial for everyone, that we will get through periods of question". But he said Canada had to "be ready for anything" if the attempts to modernise the 23-year-old deal faltered. "Nafta has benefited millions of people and can benefit millions more", Trudeau said, although he added that Nafta could use a "much-needed upgrade".

Mexico and Canada would fare better because they previously charged higher tariffs than the United States and would revert to those levels. But some agricultural products would be slapped with with far higher duties, including a 25% hike on shipments of beef, 45% on turkey, 75% on chicken, potatoes and high fructose corn syrup sent to Mexico from the US.

Prior to sitting down with Trudeau, Trump said it would be fine if NAFTA was terminated, although members of Congress expressed hope earlier in the day it could be reworked.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has warned against so-called "poison pill" proposals by the U.S., including the sunset clause.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrived in Mexico Thursday for high-level talks, on the heels of a tense visit to Washington that saw him spar with US President Donald Trump over trade.

The top USA business group pledged to fight to preserve the pact, a congressional committee said it was committed to successful talks, and Mexico signaled it can live without the accord. He said "it would not be the end of the world".

Meanwhile, US Chamber of Commerce president Thomas Donohue said that several issues under discussion could scotch the entire effort. "But for the love of God don't do any harm to something that has been so economically beneficial to states all across America". It's time after all of these years and we'll see what happens.

NAFTA negotiators face tough new US demands to increase regional content for autos to 85 percent from 62.5 percent, with 50 percent from the United States, according to people briefed on the plan. And, to their credit, our Administration has made progress in limiting the most extreme aspects of President Trump's proposals.

"As we prepare to leave the European Union, we will seek to transition all existing European Union trade arrangements to ensure that the United Kingdom maintains the greatest amount of certainty, continuity and stability in our trade and investment relationships", a spokesman for the Department for International Trade said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, in Washington for meetings with G20 finance ministers and the International Monetary Fund, was confronted Thursday with several questions about a possible USA exit from NAFTA. "We have always understood that draining the swamp would be controversial in Washington".

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