"We don't have any comment beyond that".
"Yeah, I did", Trump said when asked whether he rejected a meeting with Trudeau on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Markets and business groups are openly fretting about the damage that a collapse could provoke.
Trump told reporters he had rebuffed a Trudeau request for a meeting "because his tariffs are too high and he doesn't seem to want to move and I told him "forget about it". And frankly, we'll be very happy".
Trump made the remarks during a news conference in NY on Wednesday when he was asked if he had, in fact, snubbed Trudeau.
Congress, wary of upcoming midterms that are widely expected to inject more Democrats into the current power balance on Capitol Hill, is agitating for Canada to join an existing U.S. -Mexico deal before a self-imposed deadline of Sunday.
"The fact is, Canada is not making concessions in areas where we think they're essential", Lighthizer said. It was unclear who Trump was referring to but Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freehand has been the chief NAFTA negotiator for Canada. Supporters of Mexico's incoming government, which takes office December 1, are not especially fond of NAFTA, which is why both countries want the deal done before then.
Trump then repeated his displeasure with Canadian trade officials - "I must be honest, we're not getting along at all with their negotiators" - and accused Canada of taking advantage of the USA for years.
Mr Trump's comments were made as Nafta talks continue to drag on. Kenneth Smith Ramos said there had been "progress" on some key issues between the United States and Canada and that "we're simply hopeful that whatever gaps can be resolved in the next days, if not weeks".
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Trump was also caught on tape in 2005 boasting of grabbing women by their genitals and kissing them without permission. While Republicans want to move forward, they are mindful of the fallout if they do not take the accusations seriously.
Tim Scott, a Republican senator from SC, said Tuesday he'd prefer Canada be included, and wouldn't say if he'd vote for a bilateral U.S. -Mexico deal.
USA automakers and congressional aides now believe a deal with Canada is not possible by the deadline, which they said would most likely prompt the United States to move ahead with a bilateral agreement with Mexico.
The three nations' auto industries are highly integrated and tariffs on Canadian cars would be hugely disruptive.
In turn, Canada has long expressed a desire to remain a member of NAFTA, renegotiation of the terms of which lasted for more than a year, but was not invited to the latest negotiations between the US and Mexico.
Lighthizer also said that the US-Japan trade deal will require congressional approval and will start the process under Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) "fast track" authority.
The official declined to be named because the matter has not yet been made public. The two are in NY for a United Nations meeting but it is unclear whether they will meet. He said previous US negotiators "didn't know what they were doing".
"I love Canada, by the way", he said.