'Canada must wait,' tweets Trump, renewing auto tariff threat

13 August, 2018, 18:40 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • Trump praises Mexico, threatens Canada with auto tariffs via Twitter

A source familiar with the Ottawa NAFTA negotiations said on Friday that Ottawa's negotiators won't return to the table in Washington until the US and Mexico find common ground on their outstanding issues, which right now center on the Trump administration's ability to impose national security tariffs on future Mexican production from new auto assembly and parts plants.

The president said over the weekend that Canada's tariffs and taxes are far too high and repeated threats to tax the vehicle industry if a deal can't be reached.

"We're leading to a negotiating environment that's not going to allow parties to make concessions", he said.

Canada's ambassador to the US David MacNaugton told BNN Bloomberg TV that if the US and Canada can reach agreement on auto manufacturing then the three countries may be able to move forward on more of the issues that affect all three countries.

Trudeau had criticized the President over threats he made to impose trade tariffs on Canadian goods, evoking a response from Trump via Twitter.

He said any deal with Mexico must take care of American autoworkers and farmers, but he praised the new president of Mexico, calling him "an absolute gentleman".

But Canadian officials have insisted Ottawa hasn't been sidelined during the U.S. -Mexico discussions, arguing there have been lots of bilateral talks between NAFTA partners during the yearlong renegotiation process.

"We continue to be in the same position where Mexico and the USA need to continue to work out their issues", said the Canadian source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

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Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, said Trump doesn't want to withdraw from Nafta but "prefers bilateral negotiations" and wants to try a different approach.

"I wouldn't mind seeing NAFTA where you go by a different name, where you make a separate deal with Canada and a separate deal with Mexico".

Ultimately it is in Canada's best interest to align with the U, they will.

Industry officials also said the USA team had barely moved from its demands last May of a 75-percent overall regional content threshold with 40-45 percent content from high-wage zones - effectively the United States and Canada - with the only substantial change a slightly longer phase-in time.

Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said his country and the USA have been making a lot of progress, but would be back in Washington next week for a fourth week of two-way talks.

The U.S., for instance, uses trade barriers to protect sugar, peanuts and tobacco.

Trump added that Canada "must wait" to rejoin the NAFTA talks. The U.S. and Mexico still have other issues to work out, including what percentage of auto industry components need to be made in North America to avoid tariffs, and how many cars and trucks need to be made in factories paying higher wages. Though, Canadian officials have expressed hope that a deal could still be made soon.

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