NAFTA deal could come as early as this evening, sources say

Trump Didn’t Have A Meeting Scheduled With Trudeau — But He Canceled It Anyway

Trump Didn’t Have A Meeting Scheduled With Trudeau — But He Canceled It Anyway

With time fast running out, Canadian and USA negotiators "made lots of progress" on Sunday on a renewed NAFTA but had still not settled tough issues such as American tariffs and access to Canada's dairy market, an official and sources said. US officials have been keeping President Donald Trump in the loop on every step since Friday, but there was no plan as of 6 p.m.to go to the White House to brief him in person, two people said.

A fourth Canadian source directly familiar with the negotiations said any suggestion Ottawa would accept a cap or quota on autos exports was completely inaccurate.

He added: "We're very unhappy with the negotiations and the negotiating style of Canada".

Trump has already imposed hefty steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico, using a section of USA trade law that gives him the authority to do so for national security reasons.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been in negotiations around NAFTA for nearly 13 months now.

Talks remain snagged on several issues, including USA demands for greater access to Canada's dairy market and Canadian resistance to scrapping a dispute settlement procedure.

'In the next 48 hours, we will know if we are going with a trilateral agreement'.

A NAFTA deal had looked unlikely on Wednesday when, after a month of slow-moving discussions, Trump indicated he was fed up with Trudeau, who has insisted he will not sign a bad deal.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray in recent days has raced the clock to bridge the gaps between the US and Canadian sides, the official said. 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.

Canada is the second-biggest trading partner of the USA, and Mexico is the third. They agreed to publish the text by the end of September.

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Even so, Lopez Obrador said "the negotiation is not closed" between the United States and Canada, and said he had received information that the Trump administration has made a new counterproposal to Ottawa.

By June tensions seemed to have boiled over, with Trump leaving the G7 in Canada calling Trudeau "very dishonest and weak" just days after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced the imposition of steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Canada announced its own dollar-for-dollar retaliatory tariffs on American-made steel, aluminum, and other goods.

Trump has repeatedly threatened to start taxing Canadian auto imports.

There's no guarantee Congress would allow Trump to move forward with a two-country deal that excludes Canada because it originally granted him the authority to negotiate a three-country pact.

One source says Chapter 19 has not survived the Mexico-U.S. deal, but Chapter 20, the government-to-government dispute settlement mechanism, has been preserved in its entirety.

Lopez Obrador said he told Trudeau to keep an open dialogue with the U.S.to reach a deal, to not rule out the chance of an agreement and that "there are no fatal dates".

FILE PHOTO: A commercial truck with a Canada, United States and Mexico flag on its side is seen crossing over the Ambassador Bridge into Windsor, Ontario from Detroit, Michigan U.S. August 29, 2018. In 2004, the Dominican Republic signed a Central American trade deal three months after the USA and several of its neighbors signed.

Mexico agreed to ensure that 75 percent of automotive content will be produced within the trade bloc, up from a current 62.5 percent, to receive duty-free benefits.

The president - to say nothing of everyone else in the U.S. capital - has likely been seized all week by the riveting testimony this week out of the Senate Justice Committee, which heard details of the allegations of sexual assault against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

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