Trump warns Canada may be ‘out’ of deal
President: No political necessity to keep in new NAFTA accord
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump warned Canada on Saturday that it “will be out” of a revised North American trade agreement unless it’s “fair” to the United States, and he threatened to scrap the current deal should Congress “interfere” with the negotiations.
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal,” Trump said in one of a series of tweets as he visited his Virginia golf club while three former presidents and a range of political dignitaries attended a Washington memorial for John McCain. Trump wasn’t invited.
But it’s not clear whether the Trump administration has the authority to strike a deal with just Mexico, as it announced Monday, and exclude Canada.
Also, Congress must approve any rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed under President Bill Clinton, and might refuse to endorse a deal that leaves longtime ally Canada on the sidelines.
Talks to keep Canada in the trade bloc are to resume this coming week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada’s dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.
“As we’ve said all week, we’re working toward a modernized NAFTA that is good for the middle class and people working hard to join it,” said Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. “With good will and flexibility on all sides, a win-win-win outcome is achievable. Canada, of course, will only sign a deal which is good for Canada.”
Trump notified Congress on Friday that he plans to sign an agreement in 90 days with Mexico to replace NAFTA and hopes Canada can brought on board, too. Congress would have to approve any agreement.
“There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal. If we don’t make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out,” Trump tweeted. “Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off …”
Earlier, he said he loved Canada, but said, “they’ve taken advantage of our Country for many years!”
A U.S.-Mexico deal sealed on Monday excluded Canada. Freeland then hurried to Washington for talks aimed at preserving Canada’s membership in the regional trade agreement.
But Freeland couldn’t break an impasse in four days of negotiations with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. American and Canadian negotiators will return to negotiations Wednesday.