NAFTA Talks: US, Mexico May Proceed Without Canada

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Speaking at a press conference before leaving the United Nations General Assembly in NY to return to Ottawa, Trudeau said he's discussed the tariffs the Americans justify on "national security" grounds in many conversations with the USA president.

However Lighthizer said today that if it's not done in time, then Lopez Obrador might want to renegotiate: "If we push it beyond that date then we have a new negotiation with Lopez Obrador and we don't know where that would go at all", he said.

"If Canada comes along later, then that's what will happen", he said.

"If Canada comes along now, that would be the best". "We're sort of running out of time".

His comments, along with those from Donald Trump's trade czar Tuesday, suggest the US will publish text of a deal with Mexico while somehow continuing talks with Canada, and holding open the possibility of tucking the northern nation into the deal at a later date.

Major disagreements remain over Canada's dairy management program, a dispute resolution process and the fate of USA tariffs on metals imports from Canada. Another sticking point is Canada's protected dairy industry, which isn't in the current deal but where the US wants concessions. "Our focus is the substance, not timelines".

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday said he would not be rushed into renewing NAFTA and indicated it was possible the three member nations might fail to conclude a new pact.

Lighthizer was speaking at the Concordia Summit in NY held on September 25.

UK government 'agrees not to favour EU workers after Brexit'
Spokesmen for May's office and for Britain's interior ministry declined to comment on the reports. They also said there should be no preferential treatment for workers from the EU.

The Trump administration has said the text of an agreement between the three nations is needed by Sunday to allow the current Mexican government to sign it before it leaves office at the end of November.

Trump has demanded major changes to NAFTA, which he has said caused USA manufacturing jobs to move to low-wage Mexico.

Mexico and Canada have historically been united in opposition against any changes in trade policy with the US, but Mexico's leadership has been reluctant to stall any further progress. Markets are nervous about the impact on a deal that underpins $1.2 trillion in annual trade. However, if anything that might add more pressure on the United States, which has squeezed a good deal out of Mexico.

If a three-way deal isn't reached soon, the US will break up the world's largest free-trade zone and instead pursue separate bilateral deals with Canada and Mexico, Mr. Lighthizer during the rare public appearance. He has repeatedly said he is ready to walk away from the talks rather than sign a document he thinks is bad.

Canada is "anxious" to strike an agreement to bring some certainty to the investment climate and to open the door for Ottawa to start working more closely with the Americans on some of the bigger issues that confront both countries, he added. "I think our view is that now we'll turn to that as the next stage".

"With Mexico, we're not going to say: "No deal" because of Canada", Lighthizer said.

The prime minister said Canada would work "as long as it takes to get the right deal for Canada".